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Tbinitt College, Cambbidge, 
May 29, 1858. 


r PHE second title which I have given to my book indi- 
cates its character and limits its pretensions. While 
on the one hand it is so far from exhausting the copious 
theme ' Peloponnesus/ that it leaves many places and 
many questions untouched, or only casually alludes to 
them, on the other hand it claims, within its limited 
scope, to be the product of personal observation and inde- 
pendent research. I had no ambition to add one more 
to the multitude of Travellers' books, but I chose the 
narrative form as the most convenient mode of connecting 
together a mass of observations and reflections otherwise 
desultory and inconsequent. 

I have endeavoured to select such topics, and so to 
treat them, as, if possible, to interest not merely archae- 
ologists, but educated men generally. I have wished to 
make the book grave in substance and light in manner. 
This is, I know, a hazardous experiment. In aiming at 
both objects I run great risk of hitting neither, and may 
tind that the book appears trivial to the one class and 
pedantic to the other. 


During the tour I was occupied in comparing local 
features and extant remains with the conclusions of 
Colonel Leake and the testimony of ancient authors, 
especially Pausanias. In this task I was materially aided 
by the large French map ; and I had throughout the 
advantage of the counsels of my friend and fellow- 
traveller Professor Thompson. 

In writing the book my plan has been the same. I 
have deliberately abstained from consulting more recent 
writers on the subject. Where, for special reasons, I have 
deviated from this rule, I have always mentioned the 
author referred to. If I had discussed all the theories 
broached by modern travellers and scholars, I should 
have given my text an air of controversy or of commen- 
tary, and overloaded my notes with references, which 
would indeed have been ' caviare to the general.' 

I shall no doubt discover that many of the views put 
forward here as original, have been already propounded or 
controverted in other works. 1 Even so, in the one case, the 
truth will be confirmed by an additional and independent 

1 For instance, I now find that the dissenters from the received 
view as to the destination of the underground chambers at Mycenae, 
have been more numerous than I was aware of. Among them are 
Dr. E. D. Clarke and Colonel Mure. 

I take this opportunity of apologizing for having inadvertently 
attributed to Colonel Mure an opinion as to the identity of the 
Erasinus with the river at Stympkalus, which is really due to Colonel 


witness ; in the other case, my arguments must go for 
what they are worth. Having spent the best part of my 
life in studies connected with ancient Greece, I have, per- 
haps, as much right to form and express a judgment of 
my own as others who have trodden in the steps of 
Colonel Leake. 

All are but gleaners after him. It is indeed impossible 
to ignore or depreciate the services which he has rendered 
to Greek geography, archaeology, and literature. His 
truthfulness, his sagacity, his diligence, and his learning 
are above all praise. I am the more anxious to make 
this avowal as, otherwise, I might be supposed by a hasty 
reader to have written in a spirit of antagonism. But 
the fact is, that while I have dwelt upon those points on 
which I ventured to differ from him, I have passed over 
in silence the far greater number of cases in which I 
assented to his views. Not unfrequently I have been 
indebted to him for the data which enabled me to combat 
his conclusions. 

The most experienced and accurate of travellers cannot 
claim exemption from error. Notes written hastily and 
under difficulties are reduced to form after a multitude 
of novel sights, a constant change of scene, and a succes- 
sion of days crowded with various incidents, have inter- 
vened to perplex and disturb the memory. Every travel- 
ler who writes a book, has on this score to ask for the 
indulgence of his readers, especially of such as put it to 


the severe test of reading it in the country of which it 
treats. I have done what I could to guard against inac- 
curacy. My descriptions were for the most part written 
on the spot. I have seldom altered the original rough 
phrases of my note-book for the sake of rounding a sen- 
tence, and never preferred antithesis to fidelity. 

In speaking of the modern Greeks, I have borne in 
mind how liable a foreigner is to misinterpret such man- 
ners and customs as are strange to him ; and I have not 
ventured upon any general and sweeping assertions unless 
they were corroborated by the authority of some one 
more entitled by long residence in the country to speak 
positively of its people. I have set down nothing in 
malice, and nothing, I trust, in haste. 

















. . 114 




























STYX 301 
















T7^ IGHTEEN centuries ago the remote and savage island 
-'-^ of Britain was periodically visited by certain enter- 
prising merchants of Marseilles engaged in the tin-trade. 
These merchants were no doubt Greeks; for though Greece 
had lost all political consequence and national spirit, yet 
those who called themselves her children retained in their 
hands the commerce of the Mediterranean and the world. 
Adventurous from a restless temperament and love of gain, 
with a keen instinct of self-preservation and a practised 
dexterity that supplied the place of physical courage, un- 
weighted with any prejudices in favour of truth and 
honesty, the then Greeks far outstripped in commercial 
enterprise and in commercial success their Roman 
masters ; clumsy men, who could only be great en masse, 
in an elephantine, imperial way, who conquered nations 
and governed provinces, but could neither found firms nor 
keep ledgers, whose foreign journeys were undertaken by 
fifty thousands together, and resulted, it may be, in an 
ovation or even a triumph, but yielded no tangible return, 
much less an adequate profit for the outlay of time, men, 
and capital. So, while aggregate Rome grew and grew, 



and aggregate Hellas dwindled and dwindled, individual 
Romans became poorer and poorer, individual Greeks 
richer and richer. Politically, the former despised the 
latter ; personally, they envied them ; and from this scorn 
and envy sprang a hatred such as it has always been the 
fortune of the Greeks to excite in the breasts of their 
neighbours ; such as is felt for them at this present time 
by the aborigines of Smyrna, Trieste, or [Manchester. 
Doubtless those Cives Romani who were reduced to com- 
merce, were often compelled to borrow money of the 
gentile Shylocks, and repaid them with compound abuse. 
In one notable instance the abuse was clothed in hexa- 
meter measure, and has been preserved to our time. 
Through the exaggerations of the satirist we can discern 
the contour of the substantial truths which they enfold. 
The Greekling of that day, under the impulse of want or 
avarice, was ready for any enterprise however arduous, 
any journey however distant. "Was there a demand for 
tin, and would it leave a profit on importation, the Greek 
was ready to start even for Britain. Such expedition did 
he use, that in three months he returned safe and sound, 
and was seen bustling about the principal stoa of Mar- 
seilles, jingling the leathern purse he wore at his girdle, 
and showing to all that listed his bran-new samples of 
Cornish tin. 

Our enterprising friend is accosted amongst others by 
a stranger who is walking about with tablets in his 
hand, on which he makes memoranda. The stranger's 
accent shows that he is from Sicily. After a casual 
glance at the specimens, he puts a string of questions 
on matters not connected with the markets, out of mere 


idle curiosity, about the strange island and its wild 
people, &c, and receives the information that the natives 
about the promontory of Belarion, the extreme south- 
western corner of Britain, are, owing to their intercourse 
with strangers, far more civilized than the other savages 
of the island; that they have learnt the value of their tin, 
are able to dig it out themselves, and cart it across the 
sands to Iktis — an island at high tide — f whence/ says the 
merchant, c we ship it for the opposite coast of Galatia ' 
(meaning Gaul) . ( "We thence bring it on pack-horses in 
thirty days to Marseilles. And now, stranger, how much 
do ye bid, per Attic talent, for the tin?' The stranger 
declines to make a bid, pockets his tablets and walks away, 
to the infinite disgust of our friend, who finds that he has 
been wasting his time and breath on a fellow who proves 
to be a historian or geographer, or something of the sort, 
one of that purblind tribe who are the disgrace of the 
nation, and who do not see that the true, lasting greatness 
of the Greek race rests on their success in commercial 

The scene I have described is not altogether imaginary. 
I will not vouch for the exact place and time, but some- 
thing like my description certainly did happen somewhere 
about Marseilles in the reign of Augustus Csesar. What 
the merchant's name was, I cannot tell you ; the stranger's 
name was Diodorus. 1 

1 Diodorus Siculus, b. v. p. 301. In the place which he called 
Iktis, where the tin depot was, he seems to have blended the charac- 
teristic features of the Isle of Portland and St. Michael's Mount, and 
then to have baptized the compound by the name belonging rightfully 
to the Isle of Wight. 

B 2 


In those days, then, the trader laden with British tin 
made his way from the shore of the Channel to Marseilles 
in thirty days. The modern traveller not similarly en- 
cumbered performs the journey in about the same number 
of hours ; so brief is the space which, thanks to mecha- 
nical science, separates the most westerly of Greek cities 
from the land whose very existence was unsuspected by 
Herodotus and whose whereabouts, jealously concealed by 
the Phenician merchants, anxious to monopolize the trade, 
long continued unknown to their rivals. The Greek who 
at length discovered the secret was himself a native of 
Marseilles, by name Pytheas. 1 How would he have mar- 
velled if the gods of Delphi and Dodona could in very 
truth have pierced through the veil of futurity, and had told 
him that that land was to be the cradle of a race which, 
in courage, perseverance, and tenacious nationality should 
be the Hellenes of a new world ; that at a time when, 
with rare exceptions, the famous cities of Hellas should 
be abandoned to the encroaching sea, the gathering sand- 
dunes and the growing thicket, Britain should be the seat 
of cities many times greater than the greatest, and many 
times wealthier than the wealthiest of those old cities ; 
the metropolis of an empire wider than the dreams of 
Alcibiades, or the achievements of Alexander; and the 
centre of a commerce to which the ocean should be no 
longer the dreadful limit, but the familiar highway. The 
descendants of those rude barbarians might now without 
presumption expound Thucydides to the citizens of Athens. 
They visit Greece with the feeling of pilgrims eager to pay 

1 Plin. N. S. ii. 75. 


their devotions at the holy places of literature and philo- 
sophy and art ; and they gather, for the decoration of their 
homes, mutilated fragments of Hellenic art, at a lavish 
cost which would have staggered Pericles and Phidias. 
But I need not dwell upon facts patent to all, or illustrate 
a contrast so obvious. I touch upon the subject only 
because it is one of those commonplaces which inevitably 
occupy the mind of the student and the traveller, tedious 
if dilated on, but which it were affectation to omit. 

Except the scanty fragments collected in its museum, 
Marseilles contains, I believe, not a vestige of Greek, or 
even Roman, antiquity. Of the walls, temples, quays, 
and aqueducts of old Massilia there remains not one 
stone upon another. Antiquarian tastes are seldom pre- 
valent in a commercial city. I should have said never — 
but that I bethink me of Temple Bar, which hinders the 
enuuciatiou of my proposition as effectually as it impedes 
the traffic of Fleet-street. But, making all allowances for 
Temple Bar, it neither prevents traffic nor negatives pro- 
position. Your men of business have no leisure for dilet- 
tanteism, and the daily study of invoices and bills of lading 
is not favourable to the growth of sentiment. With such 
men, where ground-rents are high, ( the mouldering lodges of 
the past ' stand but a poor chance. Only those who have 
little concern with the present have much love for the 
past. This is a passion fostered by seclusion and study, 
sometimes morbid and restless, evaporating in mere senti- 
ment, but of inestimable service, when it finds its develop- 
ment in action, in preserving, arranging, illustrating its 
treasures and storing up materials for the historians, 
artists, and philosophers who are yet unborn. By the 


nature of the case the antiquarian spirit in auy nation 
must be of somewhat late growth, yet its prevalence is no 
indication of national decline. On the contrary, it is 
strongest among nations which have not yet passed their 
meridian, and in an exceptional class whose combativeness 
is stimulated by the different spirit which prevails around 
them. It is strongest in Northern, and weakest in 
Southern Europe. It was strong in Alexandria and Per- 
gamos in the best days of the Macedonian kings ; it was 
obviously feeble in Athens and Corinth in the days of 
Pausanias. It was strong in Italy under Claudius ; it 
was almost extinct, with all other lights of the old world, 
in Honorius* time. Never was antiquarianism so rife as 
it is this day in France and England. Indeed, in the 
former country it is so rampant, that it overleaps itself 
and falls on the other ; not content with conserving, it 
actually commits restorations. 

I make no doubt that there is a nourishing society of 
antiquaries at Marseilles, which might have done good 
service if it had been somewhat more antique itself and 
come into existence while there were still some antiquities 
to preserve or restore. Now they are busy worshipping 
their patron Epimetheus ; in rustic English, ' shutting the 
stable-door on the stolen horse.' To this hypothetical 
society I should attribute the design of a fountain erected 
during this present century, and thus inscribed, 'Les 
descendans des Phoceens a Homere/ One only trace of 
the ancient Phoceans is believed to survive in the name 
of a street, Rue de la Cannebiere, which is supposed to 
be derived from kdnnabis, the Greek word for c hemp/ 
' tow/ The derivation is probably correct, but the in- 


ference more than doubtful. Kdnnabi still survives in 
modern Greek, and it is more probable that the name of 
the street is a relic of Levantine commerce in the middle 
ages than of the Phocean settlement two thousand four 
hundred years ago. 

Marseilles, like London, has enjoyed a continuous and, 
of late, increasing prosperity. Placed as it is on a mag- 
nificent harbour, near the embouchure of a great river 
flowing from and through a region of abundant and varied 
fertility, its prosperity depends on permanent not transi- 
tory causes, natural not accidental. The name, which is 
not of Greek origin, implies that the Phoceans found a 
city ready to their hands, and under the same name it 
has continued to flourish, of whatever race its masters 
might be. 

The destiny of Naples has been somewhat similar. It 
has retained the name given it by its Greek founders; 
like Marseilles, it has been exempted from the general 
ruin of Greek towns ; and, like Marseilles, retains no 
trace of its old masters. 

I embarked at Marseilles on the evening of Thursday, 
March 20th, and landed at Naples early on the morning 
of the following Sunday. The incidents of such a voyage 
are neither novel nor attractive ; instead, therefore, of 
describing what has been repeated usque ad nauseam, I 
will ask the reader who is kind enough to accompany me 
on my journey, to reflect how this Mediterranean was in 
former days ' a Greek lake,' in a far stricter sense than it 
ever was, or ever will be, ' a French lake ;' the fleet of the 
Messageries Imperiales to the contrary notwithstanding. 

So early as six centuries before Christ, on all the 


islands, and on the greater portion of the mainland, there 
was scarcely a commodious harbour, scarcely a coign of 
vantage, where the adventurous Greeks had not established 
a town or a factory. So strong was the principle of vita- 
lity in the old stock, that wherever an offshoot or bud was 
washed ashore, it took root and grew into a vigorous tree. 
A ship-load of emigrants speedily developed into an in- 
dependent self-supporting community, holding their own 
against all comers. The like has never been seen in the 
world's history, for the Italian maritime republics of the 
middle ages offer rather an illustration than a parallel. In 
the sixth century b.c a thousand Amalfis fringed the shores 
of the Mediterranean. It was not till the vitality of 
Hellas began to decay that a tendency towards agglome- 
ration manifested itself. The Athenian confederacy and 
the Spartan were the prelude to Macedonian and Roman 
conquest, and to the utter corruption of national life 
which subsisted during the long agonies of the Byzantine 
monarchy. The power of that empire was a vis inertia ; 
its unity — the unity of cohesion, not of organized vitality. 
After five days spent at Naples and in its neighbourhood, 
we embarked on the afternoon of March 28th for Malta. 
Coming on deck early next morning, I saw behind us 
Stromboli smoking like a factory-chimney, and before us 
the Straits of Messina smooth under a drizzling rain. In 
all ages and in all countries the prosaic spirit of the 
general public insists upon solidifying into fact the fictions 
of the poet, and so these straits, being the narrowest west- 
ward with which the first Greek sailors were acquainted, 
were fixed upon as the site of the Homeric Scylla and 
Charybdis. To transform the monsters into a rock and 


a whirlpool respectively is an easy process. Rocks there 
are iu plenty, a choix, but to find the whirlpool is not so 
easy. For want of a better, a sort of eddy or backwater, 
close to Messina, is pointed out to the curious stranger as 
Charybdis, miles away from any possible Scylla.' The 
most foolish of pilots would not give Scylla so wide a berth 
as to run the risk of falling into the other alternative. 

The truth is that the scene of this, as of other fictions, 
is to the poet's mind in some far-off unknown ocean, a 
mere brain-born fantasy, without the smallest nucleus of 
fact or the least soupeon of allegory. 

The marvellous beauty of Messina demands an acknow- 
ledgment by way of passing toll from every stranger. A 
long line of stately buildings fronts the quay, the hills 
behind are crowned each with a convent or a fortress, 
while streets and gardens in picturesque medley fill all the 
hollows and climb all the steeps. Perhaps no city has 
suffered more from earthquakes, pestilence, and cannon- 
balls ; but its position as the key of Sicily, or rather the 
link of the two Sicilies, prevents its sharing the ruin of 
Syracuse and Agrigentum. A torrent divides the city 
into two unequal parts, and the detritus brought down by 
it forms, with some addition from art, the sickle-shaped 
mole which constitutes and protects the harbour. It was 
not, however, from this mole that the Greek name Zancle 
was derived, but from the shape of the harbour itself, 
quite different in old times. In the sixteenth century an 
earthquake filled up a great part of it. 

Notwithstanding the ravages of nature and man, the 
city still contains some specimens of antiquity, medieval, 
not classical — the cathedral, for instance, in the apses 


of -which are some large mosaics of the thirteenth century 
done by Greek artists, of the Madonna, St. John the 
Theologian, and others. It would be curious to compare 
the style of these works with the mosaics in the Neapolitan 
Museum brought from Pompeii, executed twelve hundred 
years before, and inscribed with the name of Dioscorides 
of Samos. One seems to feel that the imperfections of 
the older work were owing to the unskilfulness of the 
artist, those of the later work to the decline of art. 

After eight hours' stay, we left Messina. A furious 
wind and sea drove most of the passengers below. I re- 
mained on deck, and was more than rewarded for my long 
endurance by a lifting of the clouds, which revealed Etna 
with all her snows, lighted up by the westering sun. 

Next morning, Sunday, March 30th, we landed at 
Malta, and in the evening sailed in a new screw-steamer, 
the Danube, for Syra. Hough weather which rendered the 
deck untenable, a thumpiug screw which made sleep im- 
possible, a pitching vessel, and indifferent food, made our 
three days' voyage seem like an age. 

On Tuesday we caught sight of Cephalonia far to the 
north, and later Cape St. Gallo, with the snowy Taygetus 
beyond it. On Wednesday afternoon we sailed under the 
red cliffs of Melos, and at ten at night anchored off Syra. 
The Etesian wind blowing steadily from the north-east 
deterred our captain from entering the harbour ; so we lay 
all the next day under the lee of a barren island capped 
with a newly-built lighthouse, full in sight of the town. 
By this delay we missed the Austrian boat which leaves 
every Thursday for the Piraeus, and were compelled to 
wait at Syra till Sunday, much commiserated by a fellow- 


passenger, who assured us that Syra was ' a place to cut 
one's throat in.' 

However, to a landsman long in pitching steamer pent, 
all terra firma is welcome as a home — omne solum patria. 
The little Hotel d'Angleterre furnished decent lodging 
and abundant food, and the new people and strange modes 
of life afforded us ample amusement. 

Two simultaneous festivals were going on — the accession 
of King Otho and the Annunciation. Greeks, wearing the 
so-called national, really Albanian costume, white kilts of 
ample fold and embroidered jackets, swung about the 
quays and filled the cafes — Greeks from the islands still 
wearing the livery of servitude, baggy trousers tight at 
the ankles, and coats of the same colour ; grave Turks, and 
fussy Europeans of all nations. To find people actually 
reckoning by drachmas, to read the signs over the shops, 
to see those venerable characters and that ancient language 
applied to the meanest and most trivial uses of every-day 
life — all this produces in the mind of a new-comer a sen- 
sation of unreality, as if the whole thing were an elaborate 
joke. Strange contrasts, too, meet the eye and ear in 
this little Babel. For instance, entering one day a Pan- 
topoleion, or general store, where all things are sold from 
waterproof capes to pickled walnuts, we found Epami- 
nondas the owner in altercation with a ship's captain 
from Hull ; if that may be called an altercation where the 
Yorkshireman poured forth a torrent of provincial and 
emphatic Saxon, and the Greek only shrugged his 
shoulders. The cafes are numerous, as in most Greek 
towns, and all well-frequented. There is no attempt at 
decoration, nor any provision in the way of sofas or chairs 


for the external comfort of the guests, only bare walls and 
•wooden benches; on the other hand, there is a goodly 
array of liqueur-bottles, a long row of narghiles, called in 
the new lingua franca of the Levant, per onomatopoean, 
hobble-bobble, and a constant supply of good coffee. The 
refection is extraordinarily cheap. Here is a bill incurred 
(and paid) by a party at the Elysia (to. 'HXvo-m), spelt as 
the waiter would have spelt it. I give it, without ex- 
planation, as a specimen of the pbonetic orthography 
common in the modern Greek, and at the same time a 
lesson in Greek currency : 

2 Kd(p<f)( 20 Xt^ro. 

1 poaoj\io IO 

2 7ravv% 60 

1 X o73j3 £ A-/3o73/3 £ A ... to 

The total amount being one hundred leptas, or one drachma, 
equal to %\d. sterling. 

There are few more striking sights than the town, or 
rather towns, as viewed from the sea. The old town, 
Syra proper, occupies the upper half of a steep conical 
hill ; the new town, Hermopolis — not inaptly named as the 
seat of trade — spreads itself along the shore. The houses 
and churches in both are dazzlingly white. The soil, wher- 
ever it appears, as well as the higher hills behind, is of a 
reddish brown, scarcely relieved here and there by patches 
of garden and cornfields — poor starvelings dying of thirst. 

The position of the old town — so difficult of access, 
and so inconvenient for purposes of commerce — was no 
doubt selected as affording security from the depredations 
of pirates at a time when the declining powers of Venice 


and Genoa became unable to protect the seaboard. 
Thucydides, in the preface to his history (b. i. c. 7), tells 
us that, while the more ancient towns were built up above, 
away from the sea, for protection against the rovers who 
infested the coasts, the more modern towns, which had 
grown up in times of comparative safety, were placed 
down below close to the shore — a position more commo- 
dious for purposes of trade. His words receive an excel- 
lent commentary at Syra. Now that the fleets of the 
great Powers have again done the work of the Cretan 
king, the new town lines the shore. It is to France, 
Austria, and England that the Greeks owe the security 
of their commerce. Without the oppressive interference 
of these barbarians, piracy would be as rife as ever in the 
Levant. The intricate navigation, the changing winds, 
the countless coves and harbours of the Archipelago, offer 
to piracy such facilities and temptations and such impu- 
nity as no other part of the world can afford. The feeble 
and corrupt governments of Greece and Turkey would be 
quite unable to cope with the evil. To these islanders 
legitimate trade is as distasteful as any corvee to the serf; 
and piracy the favourite profession, followed without 
shame whenever it can be followed without fear. In 
their eyes it is an honourable calling ; which, to say truth, it 
scarcely becomes the children of Norsemen and buccaneers, 
and the first cousins of filibusters to disparage. 

Man in his natural state is not only a political or 
social animal, but also a beast of prey, and looks upon 
those with whom he has neither acknowledged kinship 
nor habitual intercourse as chronic foes and fair game. 
Till quite recently a Greek islander would no more shrink 


from committing an act of piracy, than an English or 
Scottish Borderer, in the fifteenth century, would have 
hesitated to join in a foray ; a Devonshire seaman, in the 
sixteenth, to ship himself in an armed vessel bound for 
the Spanish Main ; or a Highlander, in the seventeenth, 
to lift a few head of cattle from the pastures of his Sasse- 
nach neighbours. Privateering, also, sanctioned down to 
the present century by the foremost nations of earth, is 
only piracy with a licence, which affects the legality, but 
cannot touch the morality of the practice. In those 
early days, as Thucydides says (b. i. c. 5), the profes- 
sion of pirate had as yet no disgrace attached to it, but 
rather brought a man credit. In proof he quotes the 
practice and code of certain continental tribes in his own 
day, and the question which the ancient poets constantly 
represent as being everywhere alike put to newly-landed 
strangers, ( Whether they are pirates V In illustration of 
this passage in Thucydides, two from the Odyssey are 
usually brought forward (b. iii. 73, and b. ix. 254), where 
the same words are used by Nestor to Telemachus, and 
by the Cyclops to Ulysses : ' Strangers, who are ye ? 
whence sail ye the watery ways ? Come ye on business, or 
rove ye at haphazard like pirates o'er the sea, who wander 
with their lives in their hands, doing mischief to foreign 
men V Col. Mure 1 goes so far as to say that Thucydides 
quotes this passage. He certainly does not quote it ; and it 
may, I think, be doubted whether he had not rather in his 
mind some other parts of epic poems now lost, where the 
question was put more directly. Observe that Homer does 

1 Hi story of Greek Literature, vol. ii. p. 52. 


not represent the strangers as being asked ' "Whether they 
are pirates V but ( Whether they are like pirates V that is, 
in having no single object in view, and being bound to no 
particular place. Col. Mure observes : ' Amid the general 
blindness of commentators to the facetious element of the 
poem, this inquiry has usually and very uncritically been 
assumed to be made in sober earnest/ 

We must hesitate to receive this interpretation, when 
we remember that Thucydides was one of these ' blind 
and uncritical ' commentators. It is, I think, clear from 
the words of the historian that the question was one of 
the commonplaces to which all epic poets claimed a right 
as to their stock-in-trade, and of which no one could claim 
the invention. The joke, if joke it were, must have been 
worn very thread-bare by repetition, as it was the question 
put ' everywhere by all alike/ I cannot but hold that 
the received sense is the real one, and that the question 
is put f in sober earnest/ In its simplest form, ' Are you 
pirates or honest men V it was probably current in the 
ante-Homeric epic, when the deeds of pirates furnished a 
theme for popular admiration and for poets' praise, like 
the deeds of Robin Hood and Adam Bell during the ana- 
logous period of moral and literary culture in England. 
"We may infer, from the softening of the question by the 
author of the Odyssey, and from the expression of blame 
which he attaches to the pirate's life, not, assuredly, in 
joke, that in his days the innocence of the old time was 
giving place to a more elaborate system of morality, and 
the good old rule, the simple plan, was no longer thought 
compatible with dignity and honour. At all events I 
think that the question is serious, and that Thucydides 


was perfectly justified in drawing from it the historical 
inference he does. His sagacity, moreover, is vindicated 
by the experience of other peoples and later times. 

In the meanwhile, thanks to this abnormal state of 
security, the town of Hermopolis is growing to be one of 
the most important places of the Levant. It has already 
distanced the Piraeus, and is beyond comparison the most 
important seaport of the Greek kingdom. In the year 
1855 no less than fifty-six vessels were built in its docks. 

Its customs produce from 25,000/. to 28,000/. per 
month. I very much doubt, by the way, whether the 
shilling I paid to the custom-house officer on landing, in 
consideration of his waiving the right of search, ever 
found its way into the coffers of King Otho. This rapid 
growth is due entirely to the convenience of its position 
as a rendezvous for vessels from the west bound for 
Smyrna, Constantinople, or Salonica ; a second Malta, as 
it were, for, like Malta, it offers no intrinsic sources of 
wealth. The value of the whole annual produce of the 
island is estimated by the English consul there at from 
io,coo/. to 12,000/., while the revenue derived from the 
customs exceeds, as I have said, 300,000/. 

The soil is thin and stony even in the clefts and 
hollows, while the ridges of the hills are bare rock, coarse 
red marble, or hard slate. The wells are few and scanty. 
Plain there is none. It is impossible that the island ever 
could have merited the praise of Homer. He endows it 
with f goodly herds and flocks, abundant vines, and plen- 
teous wheat,' but in this, as in so many cases, the traveller 
will be grievously disappointed if he seeks to justify the 
epithets of the epic poet by some distinctive peculiarity. 


These complimentary phrases are the ordinary courtesies 
of the waudering minstrel, who finds a welcome wherever 
he goes, and repays pudding with praise. If this be in- 
deed 'the isle which is called Syne/ of which Homer 
speaks, the real prose commentary on the line would be 
that there the bard had found, or hoped to find, no lack 
of beef, mutton, white bread, and wine. 

But I incline to think that the Homeric name ' Syne/ 
belongs not to any spot in the known globe, but to a little 
cloud-island which floated once on a time across the poet's 
mental vision, and was forthwith photographed and framed 
in verse for the perpetual delight of all who read, and the 
endless perplexity of all who comment. The swineherd, 
leader of men, is entertaining the fluent stranger, and 
f capping ' him with one of his best stories, told in the 
first person as the more graphic mode. 1 Syne is described 
as an island ' above Ortygia, where are the tropics of the 
sun. There hunger is never known, there men are 
plagued by no disease, but in the fulness of years Apollo 
and his sister come and slay them with painless shafts.' 
The identity of Syrie and Syra rests upon the mention 
of Ortygia, which is assumed to be another name for 
Delos. This assumption has no authority in the Homeric 
poems to rest on, nor do I find any of earlier date quoted 
than Servius and Strabo. Ortygia occurs twice in the 
Odyssey, with no reference to Delos, and once in an inter- 
polated line in the ' Hymn to Apollo ' it is spoken of as 
different from Delos/ but apparently in its neighbourhood. 

1 Od. xv. 402, 599. 
The second passage, here referred to, of the Odyssey, is in hook 


The identification of the mysterious and fictitious Ortygia 
with the real Delos is a later invention, for the purpose of 
reconciling two discrepant narratives, and giving to vague 
mythologies a local habitation. The words which follow, 

v. line 123. There Ortygia is spoken of as the island where the 
rosy-fingered Dawn dwelt with her paramour Orion, when he was 
slain by the offended Artemis. Compare this with the other passage, 
which places it ' where are the tropics of the sun,' and we see at once 
that the Homeric Ortygia is quite removed from the known earth 
and the regions of reality. I think that it is not difficult to explain 
how the confusion arose. In 734 B.C. Archias, a Corinthian (to use 
the words of Mr. Grote, vol. iii. p. 487), 'in the violent prosecution 
of unbridled lust had caused, though unintentionally, the death of a 
free youth named Aktseon.' Being in consequence compelled to leave 
the country, he led a body of emigrants to Sicily. The name of the 
murdered youth and the occasion of his death would, as I conceive, 
suggest the propriety of placing the new colony under the especial 
protection of Artemis, and of giving to the little island where they 
built their city the name of Ortygia, already famous in the mytho- 
logical stories of that goddess. Hence Pindar, in the commencement 
of the first Xemean Ode, addresses this, the real Ortygia, as ' Sister of 
Delos.' Doubtless the mythologers of Syracuse, with that unscrupu- 
lousness which characterizes all mythologers, appropriated to their 
sanctuary many features of the legends which had their local home in 
Delos, and the Delians made reprisals by asserting that their island 
was the original Ortygia. The Dorian pride of race on the one side, 
and the Ionian on the other, were interested in maintaining either 
theory, and the piety of the Hellenes in general contented itself with 
accepting both, without trying to unravel the confusion. 

It is foreign to the present question to investigate the origin of the 
legend which connected Arethusa with Alpheus. If I might venture 
upon a guess by the way, I would suggest that the fountain had in 
early times a double name, Arethusa and Alphussa (AXcfyovaaa ; com- 
pare AeXc^oCcro-a, or Tikcjiovaa-a, the famous Boeotian spring), the one 
name a dialectic variety of the other ; and that the story was invented 
to show how it came about that the two streams were blended in one. 
To quote the well-known lines of Shelley, where, like all great poets, 


' where are the tropics of the sun/ seem to me to state 
expressly that Syrie and Ortygia lie in a region beyond 
the regions familiar to the Greeks ; and the rest of the 
description proves that, like the land of the Phseacians, it 
belongs to the kingdom of Cocaigne. That easy process 
of rationalism which consists in ignoring the supernatural 
part of a story and accepting whatever is not in itself 
impossible as a statement of fact, has long been exploded 
in historical criticism. Surely the process is equally absurd 
in matters of geography. We ought not to quote this 
passage to prove that Syrie had two capital cities, and was 
more fertile in old times, unless we are also prepared to 
admit that it was on the tropics, and that its inhabitants 
were exempt from the ordinary ills of human life. 

One day we climbed by a stony path the hill which 
rises behind the town. This specular mount occupies 
almost the centre of that imaginary circle, or geographical 
ring-fence, from which the Cyclades derive their name, 
and is, perhaps, the point from which the best view of 
the group can be obtained. To the right lies Delos, 
scarcely distinguishable from the larger island of Rhensea ; 
both being equally bare and desolate, and separated by a 
channel so narrow, that Polycrates tied them together 

he is indifferent to geographical precision if it interferes with his 
metre or his rhyme : — 

• And now from4heir fountains 
In Enna's mountains, 

Down one vale where the morning hasks, 
Like friends once parted, 
Grown single-hearted, 

They ply their watery tasks.' 
c 2 


with a chain, 1 and Nicias connected them by a bridge' 2 
built in a single night, as an agreeable surprise to Apollo. 
We were deterred from visiting this famous island by the 
consul, who threatened us with a steady gale and a fort- 
night's detention. Over Delos rises the barren ridge of 
Myconos ; turning to the north-east we see Tenos, the 
best-watered and most fertile of the islands, Naxos perhaps 
excepted. On its steep slopes we can count many villages, 
white houses among green vineyards and cornfields, with 
jagged peaks of red granite rising behind. Further away to 
the north is Andros, a huge mass of bold rock, and further 
still in the dim distance the lofty mountains of Eubcea. 
Between Eubcea and Andros is the d'Oro Strait, through 
which, as through a funnel, the Etesian winds blow at 
times with terrific fury. It bears an evil repute among 
sailors, and has been fatal to the Oilean Ajax and many a 
better man. Almost at our feet to the north-west lies 
the ' narrow ' rock of Gyaros, the Norfolk Island of the 
Romans, utterly barren, without a level or pleasant spot 
of ground, scarcely six miles in circumference, and as 
uninviting a residence as could well be to a man fond 
of ease, or change, or pleasure. Its familiarity to the 
Roman ear, doubtless, induced Virgil to mention it as one 
of the anchors of Delos, otherwise Syra or Tenos would 
have had a better claim. 3 It is plain, I think, that Virgil 

1 Thuc. iii. 104. 2 Plutarch. Nicias, c. 3. 

3 JEneid. iii. 74 — 

Quam pius Arcitenens oras et litora circum 
Errantem Mycono e celsa Gyaroque revinxit. 

Some MSS. and Edd. invert ' Mycono' and Gyaro ;' but this scarcely 
helps the sense, for the one island has no more claim to the adjective 


had never visited these parts when he wrote the JEneid. 
Myconos cannot be called lofty except, perhaps, in compa- 
rison with Delos itself. But, indeed, in no part of vEneas's 
voyage before he reaches Italy can I trace any sign of the 
poet's personal acquaintance with the scenery. Westward 
we have Ceos and Cythnos ; to the south-west, Seriphos, 
famous in old times for its proverbial insignificance; 1 
southward, Siphuos, Paros and, lastly, the picturesque 
and noble outline of Naxos. 

The contemplation of this panorama produces a strange 

' lofty' than the other. Statius, too, following Virgil, as in duty- 
hound, mentions the anchors of Delos in the same order — 

. ipsa tua Mycono Gyaroque revelli, 
Dele, times. (Thebais, iii. 438.) 

Ovid, as if to correct what had been noted as an error in Yirgil by the 
critics of the time, calls Myconos ' lowly,' which is an error on the 
other side. — JTetam. vii. 463. 

Hinc humilem Myconon cretosaque rura Cimoli, 
Florentenique Cythnon, Sc} r ron, planamque Seriphon. 

Neither is ' plana' appropriate to Seriphos. I am persuaded, more- 
over, that he here confounds Syros with Scyros, an island far away 
to the northward. K the Metamorphoses had been written after his 
banishment — which we know from Tristia (ii. 555) was not the case 
— he would have described more accurately these islands, through 
which he sailed on his way to Tomi (Tristia, i. II, 7), though it is 
true that he was too much occupied with his elegiacs to observe 
them, but supposes, on the other hand, that they were lost in admira- 
tion of him — 

Quod facerem versus inter fera murmura ponti 
Cycladas ^Egseas obstupuisse puto. 

A most characteristic passage this. Mr. Euskin can scarcely find a 
better example of ' the pathetic fallacy.' 

1 Arist. Ach. 542 ; Plat, Sep. b. i. 


mixture of delight and disappointment. These masses of 
limestone and granite, infinitely varied and always beau- 
tiful in form, lit up with splendid sunshine, set in a vast 
circle of cobalt blue, form a spectacle as rare as charming 
to the children of the misty north; but the sense of aban- 
donment and desolation gives one pain. Our own poets 
are accustomed to invest these islands of the iEgean with 
attributes borrowed from the islands of the Pacific. As 
Keats says : — 

Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades, 

Rejoice, Delos, with thine olives green, 

And laurels and lawn-shading palm and beech, 

In which the zephyr sings the loudest song, 

And hazel thick, dark-stemnied, beneath the shade, &c. 

The ' embowered Cyclades V Homer himself could 
not have found an epithet less merited. Nor, when Ovid 
called Melite (Malta, to wit) ' fertile/ was the compliment 
more misapplied. 1 

Even we, the public, who are not poets by profession, 
except in so far as we may have wooed the unwilling 
Minerva in Latin verse, at times think poetry, as M. 
Jourdain talked prose, without knowing it, and investing 
our dreamlands with all that is most striking to the fancy 
in popular voyagers' books, the tropical luxuriance of 
Tahiti or South America, or with all that charms us most 
in our own scenery, thick woods and sloping lawns and 
deep meadows, call the paradise of our creation by the 
sweet-sounding Greek names familiar to us from child- 
hood. We have a vision of our own, and we undo it by 
a visit. Is it, then, better to stay at home ? Certainly 

1 Fasti, 'iii. 567. 


not, unless for one who prefers dreaming to waking. 
The only interesting geography is geography of three 
dimensions ; and a knowledge of any country derived from 
actual inspection, gives an unsuspected significance and a 
new interest to the study of its history and its literature, 
and even furnishes, to one who has the divine gift, more 
solid materials for poetry. Shelley's Italian pictures are 
a thousand times more vivid than the vague generalities 
of his Hellas, and Keats would have found something 
better to say of the Cyclades as they are. If any one 
says that Wordsworth's palinode, * Yarrow visited/ is not 
equal to the ' Yarrow unvisited/ I can only reply, as 
people always reply to awkward facts, that it is neither 
here nor there. My proposition is true in the main. 

\Ve sailed from Syra in a French steamer on Sunday, 
April 6th, at sunset. There was a great crowd of Greeks, 
who spread their beds and blankets on deck ; pilgrims who 
had been paying their devotions to Our Lady of Tenos. 
When I came up, soon after sunrise next morning, we were 
coasting along a broad bay fringed with sand. Behind it, 
and between the grey stony hills which came down on 
either side to the sea, lay a plain, sterile and colourless, 
except on the left a belt of pale blue olive-groves. Then 
Ave became aware of a tall, square tower and a range of 
yellow broken wall on a rocky eminence a few miles in- 
land, and then it flashed upon us that the bay was the bay 
of Phalerum and the stony hills, Parnes and Hymettus. 

Half an hour later we rounded the headland, on the 
extreme point of which an English sentinel was standing, 
and entered the harbour of the *Piraeus. A little swarm 
of boats put off from the shore as soon as we appeared, 


and when we came to anchor, and were waiting for pratica, 
hung round the vessel ' like flies round the milk-pail in 
summer time/ as Homer says. "Whenever an Englishman 
appeared on deck, he was at once detected, and a score of 
voices assailed him with ' I say, Johnnie, vare good boat.' 
Such were the first words which welcomed us to the 
Attic shores. The magnificent harbour contained but few 
merchant-ships, and would have seemed almost empty but 
for the towering masses of English and French war-steamers, 
of which some half-dozen were riding at anchor. A row 
of mean buildings lines the quayside. The most imposing 
was the custom-house, which a few months afterwards was 
burnt to the ground. The Greek newspapers directly 
charged the principal official with consuming the accounts 
which he could not balance. That functionary, if he has 
read Aristophanes, 1 may console himself with the reflec- 
tion that a similar charge was brought against a greater 
man, even Pericles. The conflagration, too, was, in that 
case, proportionally greater, for it embraced the empire of 

The mysterious pratica being at length obtained, the 
vessel was boarded by a rabble of boatmen, to escape 
from whose importunity we surrendered ourselves and our 
luggage to a commissionaire despatched for the purpose 
from the hotel in the ' asty ' where we proposed to lodge. 
He had us rowed ashore for two drachmas, bribed the 
officer on duty at the custom-house for another, and hired 
for four drachmas more, a droschky, which in three 
quarters of an hour conveyed us to Athens. 

1 Pax. 606. 


The reader who has trusted himself to my guidance 

thus far, will be inclined to ask with Sebastian in Twelfth 


Shall we go see the reliques of this town ? 
I pray you let us satisfy our eyes 
With the memorials and the things of fame 
That do renown this city. 

I am bound to explain why I depart from what seems, 
at first sight, the natural course, and for the present pass 
over Athens in silence. The subject has, indeed, been 
treated of so often and so well, that I dare not challenge 
a comparison. On this ground alone I would answer 
Sebastian's proposal as Antonio does : — 

Would you'd pardon me ; 
I do not without danger walk these streets. 

I cannot hope to add anything to the exhaustive inves- 
tigations of Leake and Penrose, or to surpass the vivid 
sketches of Wordsworth and Stanley. I therefore deter- 
mined not to attempt anything like a detailed account of 
Athens and its antiquities, but to confine myself to some 
remarks in the shape of detached essays, on some points 
still subject to discussion and controversy. Since Colonel 
Leake's time, neither the discoverer nor the theorizer has 
been idle, and what the shovel of the one has brought to 
light, the pen of the other has involved in obscurity. But 
for the little I have to say on the subject of Athenian 
antiquities, this is not the place. Our first visit was limited 
to a week, for the most favourable season for travelling was 
already come, and we were advised to lose no time in 
setting out. It was not till the ensuing summer that I 
found leisure to make a serious and lengthened study of 


the matchless relics still extant in the capital. To me, 
therefore, the natural plan seems to be to speak first of 
the Morea. In this way, too, I shall best consult for the 
orderly arrangement of my ■work, by keeping its narrative 
portions together. The Morea, unlike Attica, offers no 
single spot of such absorbing interest as to induce the 
traveller to linger there and leave minor objects unseen ; 
on the contrary, when he returns, after a month of con- 
stant movement, he would be puzzled to say Avhich of many 
cities, which of many scenes, has most delighted him. So 
that the subject lends itself more easily to continuous 
narrative than to separate essays. 

For these reasons, the ' Notes of Study and Travel' 
submitted to the public in the present volume relate only 
to Peloponnesus. 



rPOURISTS in "Western Europe perform their task in two 
-*- ways, in a carriage or on foot. As Greece, after thirty 
years of constitutional government and renewed connection 
with ' wheel- going Europe/ has not yet any carriage-roads 
to speak of, 1 the first course is impracticable. And as the 
traveller in Greece has to provide himself with food, 
cooking-utensils, and bed, the second course is scarcely 
feasible either. The only available plan is to go on horse- 
back. You may either hire horses for yourself, in which case 
the owner or his underling accompanies you as agoyat, or 
groom, to look after the beasts, leaving you to provide for 
and look after yourself; or you may contract with a drago- 
man for the supply of everything, lodging and bed, food 
and cookery. The latter plan is in every respect the best. 
You are freed from all anxiety as to where you shall 
sleep and how dine, and from the greater anxiety as to 

1 The first achievement of liberated Greece, in this respect, was, of 
course, the road from the Piraeus to the city, five miles and a fraction 
in length, for part of which the remains of the northern ' long wall ' 
furnished a solid foundation ; the second, that to Phalerum, some- 
thing more than three miles, over which the queen drives to her 
bath every morning in summer ; and, finally, by slow degrees, a 
road practicable for carriages has been completed through Eleusis and 
Megara to Thebes. 


•whether you shall sleep or dine at all ; and thus you are 
able to devote your attention exclusively to external 
objects. It is, of course, more costly. The dragoman 
will ask thirty francs a day per head, and will not take 
less than five-and-twenty, whereas with an agoyat only all 
expenses will be covered by twelve or fourteen francs a 
day. There is, indeed, a third method, which is the most 
economical, and in some respects the best of all, and that 
is to go a-foot and lead or drive a horse laden with the 
baggage of the party. Unfortunately the plan will only 
suit those who are young, strong, and already familiar 
with the people and the language. The students of the 
French Academy adopt it, and are consequently looked 
upon by the professional dragoman as low, ungentlemanly 
fellows. M. About, indeed, tells us that, when a student 
himself, he ventured on an equestrian tour, but the result 
was infinitely disastrous, and prudence as well as economy 
may prescribe to his successors the humbler and safer 
mode. I am not, however, sure whether this mishap, 
like other parts of his most entertaining volume, be not a 
figment of his brain. Certainly in all our cavalcade there 
was not one horse which ever displayed the slightest ten- 
dency to run away — quite the reverse. 

There are about half-a-dozen men at Athens who follow 
the profession of dragoman, and who, when not on duty 
in that capacity, serve as laquais de place, and expound 
to the curious stranger the antiquities of the city. TA'e 
selected one Alexander, a Corfiote, on the recommendation 
of the Handbook, and drove an easy bargain by giving 
him what he asked. In two days he had made his pre- 
parations, and at half-past eight on Tuesday, the 15th of 


April, our cavalcade started from the hotel. The travellers 
were three in number, two English, one American, each 
mounted upon a somewhat sorry steed, which was destined 
to become much sorrier before the month was past. 
Immediately before us rode Alexander, in white kilt and 
crimson jacket, cracking his whip and shouting at intervals 
to let off some of his superabundant vainglory. Before 
him was a horse laden with certain provisions and a kitchen 
battery, and above all was perched the presiding genius, 
whose duty it was to put this and that together for our 
daily refection — the cook, in fact. His name was Con- 
stantine, born at Scio, and providentially saved from the 
massacre of that ilk when a mere child. He w r as dressed 
in sad-coloured Turkish costume, and, whether from the 
impression of early misfortunes or from a sense of official 
responsibilities, always preserved a solemn gravity of 
countenance and deportment. He proved himself a jewel 
of a cook. We drank his health almost daily. Foremost 
of all were three horses carrying beds, campstools, table, 
canteen, and our personal luggage, accompanied by three 
agoyats on foot, Eleutherius, Pericles, and Alcibiades, all 
in white kilts, coarse woollen jackets, and greaves or 
gaiters of the same. Eleutherius, alias Lefteri, was a man 
of middle age and substance, being owner of the horses ; 
Pericles, a stolid crass young man, native of Thebes ; and 
Alcibiades, a born Athenian, a merry dog and sad pickle, 
not unworthy of his name. In this order our procession 
crossed the Cephissus, and marched along the road which 
in old times was the sacred way leading from Athens to 
Eleusis. There are no traces of the ancient road ; indeed, 
as the ground which it crosses hereabouts is always dry 


and hard, there never was any need for either substruction 
or pavement. Not till we come to the low wet ground 
near Eleusis do we discover any remnants. Notwith- 
standing the ravages of the last Philip and of him who, 
happily for mankind, was the first and last Sulla, it was 
still in the time of Pausanias bordered with many altars 
and tombs, temples and statues, of which no vestige now 
remains. The road makes straight as an arrow for a 
depression in the mountain-range — a col it would be called 
in Switzerland — through which winds the pass of Daphne. 
Before entering the pass we turned to say good-bye to 
Athens. There are still traces of ancient fortifications 
near the road at this point, marking probably the site of 
one of the fortresses where the young peripoloi did garrison 
duty. Although so marked a feature in the physical 
geography of Attica, it does not appear that this point 
was of any importance as a military post, and consequently 
makes no figure in history. The ridge is indeed prac- 
ticable anywhere for light-armed troops, and might, I have 
no doubt, be crossed in many places by hoplites and even 
cavalry — Greek cavalry, that is, not dragoons or hussars. 
The rampart which Colonel Leake traced along the crest 
of the hill and in the pass near Liosta, is not mentioned 
in any history that I know of. Certainly it either did not 
exist, or was already abandoned to ruin in the time of the 
Peloponnesian war. Otherwise the Athenians would have 
made some stand there, or at all events Thucydides would 
have told us why they did not. 

It probably was thrown up when Greece was kept in 
fear of the Gauls, and as it proved to be unnecessary, 
escaped the notice of historians. Any inference drawn 


from its structure would be doubtful, as works of necessity- 
built in haste resemble each other everywhere and at all 
times. The characteristics of an age are exhibited only 
in works of skill and leisure. 

There is, moreover, another pass leading from the plain 
of Eleusis to that of Athens, opening on the latter near 
the modern village of Liosta, between the lower ridge of 
which we are now speaking and the main range of Parnes, 
of which it is a spur or offshoot. To this lower ridge, 
between Mount Parnes and the Straits of Salamis, two 
names are commonly assigned, iEgaleos and Corydallus. 
Looking at it from Athens, the first hypothesis that occurs 
is that one portion of the hill thus intersected by the 
goi'ge of Daphne bore one name, the other portion the 
other name. But Thucydides (b. ii. c. 19), speaking of the 
first invasion of Attica by the Peloponnesian allies, tells us 
that, after advancing as far as the so-called Rheitoi (which 
we know to be on the Eleusinian side of the hill, near the 
foot of the pass of Daphne), they went on, keeping Mount 
^Egaleos on the right, through Kropeia to Acharnie; that 
is to say, instead of crossing by the pass of Daphne, they 
crossed by that of Liosta. This shows clearly that the 
name iEgaleos was applied to that part of the range which 
lies between Daphne and Parnes. 

A well-known passage in Herodotus (b. viii. c. 90), 
stating that the chair of Xerxes was set on the slope of 
Mount iEgaleos that he might see the battle of Salamis, 
shows no less clearly that this name was also given to the 
seaward portion of the mountain. The ancient iEgaleos 
then stretched from Parnes to the sea. What, then, 
becomes of Corvdallus ? Strabo mentions an Attic village 


or demus of that name near the Straits of Salamis, at 
the foot of a mountain of the same name. This 
mountain (which scarcely deserves so imposing a name) 
may be identified with a lower range running parallel 
to iEgaleos along its seaward part between it and Athens. 
Other authorities have placed Corydallus between Attica 
and Bceotia, and the Dictionary of Geography refers to 
Athenseus (b. ix. p. 390) as one of them. In reality 
the inference to be drawn from his testimony makes in 
favour of the statement of Strabo. He quotes Theo- 
phrastus's words : l The partridges at Athens on this side 
of Corydallus towards the city call (icaKKa/3/^oua-tv), and 
those on the further side twitter (TirrvfiiZovaiv).' Thus 
the partridges on the further side of Corydallus are still 
called f the partridges at Athens/ which could only be 
said of a hill situated entirely within the Athenian plain. 

But such questions must, after all, be answered doubt- 
fully; and we need not be surprised to find that, in the 
lapse of five or six hundred years, after so many changes, 
social and political, geographical names had changed too ; 
some extended in their application, some restricted, some 
disused altogether, giving place to new. Thus in Pausanias's 
time the mountain which we have shown to be iEgaleos 
in the fifth century b.c had assumed in whole or in part 
the name of Poikilon Oros, ' the variegated ;' a title for 
which it is difficult to account. Thin soil, lack of moisture, 
and sparse vegetation make it as monotonous in colour as 
any hill in Greece. 

The name Daphne rests upon no ancient authority, and 
there is not a single laurel to justify it. Perhaps it may 
be a fancy-name in honour of Apollo and his temple, 


coined by some medieval scholar dwelling at Athens. And 
there were many such — Michael Acominatos, for instance, 
Archbishop of Athens, at the end of the twelfth century, 
quotes Aristophanes in a memorial addressed to govern- 
ment, complaining of the decay of the city. 1 Perhaps the 
convent here may have been founded by monks from the 
once flourishing convent of Anaphe, who gave to their new 
home the name of the old, a name easily corrupted into 
the more familiar word Daphne. It was a word which 
commended itself to Christian as well as Pagan sympathies. 

The grove of Daphne near Antioch, which from the 
time of Seleucus Nicanor had been, so long as Paganism 
continued to flourish, one of the most famous idol-shrines, 
was subsequently the scene of a great triumph of the 
Church, and of a miraculous manifestation celebrated by 
the golden mouth of Chrysostom. The remains of St. 
Babylas, Bishop of Antioch, which had been buried in 
Apollo's precinct, were removed by order of Julian. ' During 
the night/ says Gibbon (ch. xxiii.), f the temple of Daphne 
was in flames ; the statue of Apollo was consumed, and 
the walls of the edifice were left a naked and awful monu- 
ment of ruin. The Christians of Antioch asserted with 
religious confidence that the powerful intercession of St. 
Babylas had pointed the lightnings of heaven against the 
devoted roof.' 

Of course, when Julian's tyranny was overpast, the bones 
of Babylas were restored, his church rebuilt, and thus 
Daphne was sanctified in the eyes of Christians as the 
resting-place of a thaumaturgic saint. 

1 Finlay's Med. Greece, p. 153. 


We rested awhile at the convent, which is clearly 
built of the materials, and doubtless occupies the site, 
of the temple of Apollo. Its foundation was attributed 
to Cephalus; 1 probably from its situation near the 
head, K^akrj, of the pass. The origin of half the 
legends of Greece is to be sought in a jingle of words. 
The pass from Eleusis into Boeotia was called rput; 
KifyaXcu or Apuoc K£(pa\al f and this of Daphne, whose 
ancient name is nowhere recorded, may have been simply 
known to the Athenians as Cephale. The convent, 
which was once rich and prosperous, is now ruinous, 
poverty-stricken, and almost abandoned. It consists of a 
courtyard surrounded by a cloister and cells, and on one 
side a church on the Byzantine model, with a central cupola. 
Some of the dukes of Athens, of the De la Roche family, 
lie buried there — or rather lay, for one tomb at least has 
been rifled. To them also is attributed a Gothic facade 
which has been added to the outer wall of the church. 3 

Remounting, we soon pass on the right hand a rock, on 
the smoothed face of which are niches and inscriptions to 
Aphrodite; no doubt the site of the temple which Pausa- 
nias mentions. In his time there was ' in front of it a 
wall of rough stones worth seeing' — there is a wall of 
rough stones now, scarcely worth seeing. That Father of 
Handbooks does not seem to have thought the view of the 
plain and bay of Eleusis, which shortly opens out to 
the traveller, worth seeing, for he passes it without notice. 
Indeed, I do not remember, in all his book, a single phrase 

1 Pausanias, i. 36. 2 Herodotus, ix. 38. 

Buchon, Principaute Fran$aise en Moree, vol. iii. pi. xxxi. 


implying any sense of landscape beauty. The dullest of 
moderns could scarcely fail to notice and admire the fair 
reach of blue, land-locked sea which comes curving in 
upon the level plain, green with spring, and the rocky hills 
that stand around Eleusis, sheltering the sacred bay and 
sacred plain from all the winds that blow ; rocky hills, 
bearing so proudly their famous names Parnes, Cithseron, 
Salamis. Nor is the prospect what it was. The bright 
jewel to which the landscape was but the setting — the 
mystic temple with its glorious gates of Pentelic marble — is 
gone, and in its place a group of poverty-stricken hovels 
makes an anticlimax to the beauty and bounty of nature. 

Shortly after descending into the plain we come to a little 
salt-water lake, from which a stream or streams are con- 
stantly flowing to the sea ; doubtless the Rheitoi of Pausa- 
nias. What he says is worth quoting, as it illustrates his 
attainments in physical geography. ' What are called 
Rheitoi have no characteristic of rivers, but the stream 
for their water is sea. It is probable that they flow even 
from the Euripus under ground, 1 and fall into the lower 
sea.'- He goes on to say that they are sacred to Demeter 
and Aphrodite, and that the right of fishing belongs 
exclusively to the priests. The little lake seems not 
unsuitable for a vivarium. I asked one of the men if 
there were any fish there. Inferring that I should like 
an affirmative answer, he promptly gave one. 

Further on we pass a ruined tomb, and find many 
traces of ancient and solid causeway ; among others a 

1 ' Under ground.' I propose here iiro ttjs yrjs, instead of diro rijs yrjs. 
2 Att. i. 38. 

D 2 


bridge, whose arch is half buried in the alluvial soil. 
By and bye Ave cross the Cephissus, which, as Pausanias 
saw it, ran with a stronger stream than its namesake in 
the plain of Athens. It is not the case now. Probably 
in the old time the Athenian river was bled even more 
than at present for the irrigation of orchards and gardens, 
and its volume, as it flowed into the Phaleric Bay, propor- 
tionately smaller. 

In wet Aveather, however, the Eleusinian stream, now a 
mere thread, spreads out into a flood ; and under the very 
eyes of the goddess — Cerere non probante — devastates the 
cornfields. This antagonism, perhaps, gave rise to a 
legend that Pluto descended at a spot by the river side 
when he carried off her daughter ; and the story that here 
Theseus killed the giant Polypemon, may refer to some 
ancient works executed by Athenians for checking the 
ravages of the inundations. Before reaching the village 
Ave stop at a deserted chapel, which serves as a receptacle 
for some recently discovered fragments, all in a very bat- 
tered state. There is a head of Jupiter, and the lower 
part of a draped female figure. The fame of this last 
discovery had reached Athens ; and, from the reported 
dimensions, the British minister there supposed it might be 
the supplemental part of the colossal head and bust at 
Cambridge, the so-called Phidean Ceres. It is, however, 
very much smaller in its proportions. The Cambridge 
statue, probably, represented a Avorshipper or priestess of 
Demeter bearing a basket of sacred offerings, and was not 
a Caryatid. I infer this from a passage in Pausanias 
("■ 35> 4). where, in describing another temple of Demeter 
at Hermione,he says : irpo %l tov vaov ywaiKwv Itpaaa/uivujv 


7-1/ Ai'i/uriTpi liKOvag kaTi)Kaaiv, k.t.X ' Before the temple 

stand portrait-statues of women who have held the office 
of priestess to Demeter/ 

The statue of the Eleusinian goddess herself was doubt- 
less consumed by the fire in the time of Aurelius, which 
destroyed the temple. 1 In the same church we saw a 
sepulchral stone, a round column four feet high, with a 
sitting figure of Isis holding the sistrum, and the inscrip- 
tion I(xo§ot»7 IctoSotov MtArjova. The tombstone, doubtless, 
of one of a family devoted to the worship of Isis, perhaps 
a priestess who had come from the distant Miletus to 
worship at Eleusis, and died there. Demeter was naturally 
identified with the Egyptian goddess. As Isis bewailed 
the lost Osiris, so Demeter bewailed the lost Persephone. 
The sorrows of the bereaved mother and the widowed 
wife are, of all human sorrows, the deepest and the 
most hopeless. Unable to find consolation on earth, 
the sufferer yearns after heavenly sympathy, seeks and 
surely finds, among the objects of her worship, one who 
has borne the like afflictions, and is prompt to pity and 
to redress. Thus, if the comparison may be made without 
irreverence and without offence, the Isis and Demeter of 
Paganism were shadows which suffering humanity created 
for its comfort, in anticipation of the perfect type which 
it afterwards found in the Mater Dolorosa. 

At Eleusis there is little to note beyond the remains 
of the propykea, whose enormous fragments of Pentelic 
marble, blanched by their long burial, are scattered in 
disorder, just as Dr. Clarke left them, uncared for. These 

1 FinUiy, Greece under (he Romans, p. 7 j. 


relics of past magnificence contrast sadly with the poor 
cottages around them. Close by we observed a colossal 
bust of some Roman emperor, unfinished and intended to 
ornament a wall like those at Hampton Court on a larger 
scale. Pausanias (i. 2, 4,) mentions a similar decoration in 
a building at Athens : "AKparog" irpocrojirov iariv ol povov 
tvioKoSofiriiuEvov toi\(o. The bust at Eleusis was perhaps in- 
tended for that of Marcus Aurelius, who rebuilt the temple. 
The portico, of which the ruins are still extant and evidently 
belong to a much earlier age, probably remained un- 
injured. The limits of the artificial platform on which 
the temple stood, under the shelter of the citadel, as de- 
scribed by Livy (xxxi. 25), are clearly marked. Unfortu- 
nately it is covered with cottages, and the owners' rights 
must be bought as a preliminary step to a systematic 
excavation. At this point the guidance of our old cicerone 
fails us, for, as he says, his own sense of propriety, and 
the warning of a dream, forbade him to speak of what 
was within the wall of the Hierum. 1 In the harbour 
below, now shallow and occupied only by a few fishing- 
boats, there are parallel lines of hewn stones under the 
water ; doubtless the foundations of landing wharfs, as in 
the two smaller harbours of the Piraic peninsula. 

We left Eleusis at a quarter-past two. The road lead- 
ing along a gentle slope between hills and sea, now 
through shrubs and low brushwood, now through fallow 
and cornfields, is smooth and level. We put our horses 
to their best speed, and reached Megara before five. Be- 
tween Attica and the Megarid there is no defensible 

1 Paus. i. 38, 6. 


frontier ; hence it was easy for the Athenians to pour 
in their troops, and so take partial and vicarious revenge 
for the raids of the Peloponnesians in Attica. Indeed, 
geographically, the Megarid seems to belong to Attica, 
being separated from Corinth and Bceotia by high moun- 
tain ranges ; and if the -tradition current among the 
Megarians themselves can be trusted, it was also politi- 
cally united with Attica till the Dorians of the Peloponnese 
conquered it in the reign of Codrus. These Dorians also 
possessed themselves of Salamis; but they were expelled 
by the Athenians in Solon's time, and were afterwards 
scarcely able to hold their own against their powerful 
neighbours. The mountain barriers which divided them 
from Boeotia and the Peloponnese, rendered them, espe- 
cially in winter, dependent in a great measure upon the 
supplies of Attica; hence the distress to which they were 
reduced by the decrees of Pericles excluding them from 
the Athenian markets. "When the war broke out, and to 
this exclusion was added the annual raid of the Athenian 
troops, their distress became extreme, and furnished 
Aristophanes with one of his most comic scenes. The 
Boeotian in the same play has not suffered any diminution 
of his creature comforts. 

The modern Megara occupies the site of the ancient — 
two hills of no great elevation at a distance of two miles 
from the sea, overlooking an even slope of fertile soil, a 
winding shore, and beyond Salamis and iEgina, with the 
archipelago of islets dotting the bay. In the time of 
Pausanias it was, and long had been, a decayed place. 
He says it was the only town which even the muni- 
ficence of Hadrian could not cause to prosper. There 


was a curse upon the place; 1 so it had shrunk and 
shrunk into a beggarly town, crowded only with tem- 
ples, containing some great works of Attic art and many 
antiquities, genuine or apocryphal, and haunted by a tribe 
of laquais-de-place of more than ordinary mendacity. 
Of all these temples not a trace is left, at least not in 
situ. We were taken to a kind of outhouse to see three 
mutilated statues of draped figures, and we observed here 
and there a block of marble or fragment of column. 2 
Nor are there any means of ascertaining which of the 
two hills must be identified with the Acropolis of Kar, 
which with that of Alcathous ; but from the prominence 
which our faithful exegetes gives to the former, and from 
its probable etymology (Kar, kar a, head), it may be as- 
sumed to be the higher of the two. The latter was forti- 
fied with walls, attributed by tradition to the hands of 
Apollo. 3 They were, therefore, polygonal, not Hellenic, 
because such a legend implies a style of building no longer 
in vogue; and not Cyclopean, a kind of work which would 
be attributed to the rude strength of a monstrous giant, 
rather than to the harmonious and equable power of a 
god. The modern Megaia has quite the appearance of a 
Turkish town: tortuous illpaved or unpaved streets; little 
houses, each like a bandbox, with flat roofs. The excellent 

Paus. i. 36, 3. 

2 On what has been the pedestal of a statue I read the following 
fragment : ttjv ap^iepetav twv 2e/3a(rrcoi/ 81a /3iov TroXvp.pei.av Tfipo- 
rrdevovs (.■*) aperrjs cvextv icai cra>(ppoo-vvr]s kcii rcov eis ttjv narpi^a 

3 Theognis, a native of Megara, thus addresses the god (773): 
' King PhoAms, thou with thine own hands didst build the towers of 
our Acropolis (n6X«/ aKp^v), showing favour to Alcathous, son of Pelops.' 


khan in which we were lodged had a court-yard and a 
kind of verandah of exceptional magnificence. The houses 
are built for the most part of what Pausanias calls ' con- 
chite' stone. I will quote his words, for they are as appli- 
cable now as ever — ' The ATegarians are the only Greeks 
who have this conchite, and many things in their city are 
made of it. It is very white, and softer than other stone, 
and there are sea-shells in it all through/ 1 

Half-an-hour's walk through corn-fields brought us to 
the hill by the shore, on which stood the Acropolis of the 
ancient Nissea, now crowned with the ruins of a Frank 
castle. In the walls I noticed large blocks of a blue- 
veined marble, probably Hymettian; and lying on the 
beach below, part of a Doric column, encrusted with shells 
and fringed with seaweed. Both blocks and column may 
have belonged to the temple which Pausanias mentions 
as a ruin in his day. The port is a little bay, defended 
on one side by the castle hill, and on the other by a 
promontory, stretching far out to sea. Both hill and 
promontory have at some prehistoric period been islands 
off the shore. In front is the little island of Minoa, 
joined anciently by a bridge to the promontory, where the 
Athenians lay in ambush in a clay-pit before their night- 
attack upon Niseea. 2 The fact of Minoa fronting Nissea, 
and its being made, probably more than once, the basis 
of operations for an invading force, has given rise to a 
legend about a war between Minos and INusus. Of the 
Megarian long walls not a trace remains. The soil is 
alluvial, and the plough has passed two thousand times 
over their site. 

1 Paus. i. 44, 9. 3 Thucydides, iv. 6j. 



TTTE left Megara betimes in the morning. As we ascended 
' " the mountain-side we turned out of the way to look 
at a square fort of that rough-and-ready structure which 
has no assignable date, being common to all times. As we 
rounded the shoulder of the hill we had a glorious view 
of the Saronic Gulf, studded with all its islands, rippling 
in the morning breeze and flashing in the morning sun. 
The road we took is called the hake skala (i.e. evil stair) y 
and when we passed deserved the name better perhaps 
than at any time before or since. Originally a foot-road 
' for well-girt men/ made by the giant Skiron — much as 
a spider makes its web — to entrap solitary travellers, 
whom he threw over the rocks into the sea to fatten a 
pet turtle withal, — it was enlarged by Hadrian into a road 
wide enough for two carriages to pass. 1 The statement is 
still attested by many wheel-marks in the rock. In course 
of time it had degenerated into a horse-track. A portion 
of it where the cliffs are steepest was blown up by General 
Church in the War of Independence, just as it had been 
broken up by the Peloponnesiaus in the Persian war to 
arrest the progress of the Oriental invader. 2 At this 

Paus. i. 44, 10. 
Herod, vm. "ji. — jfo^eroi ip tu> 'io-tf/iw Kal <rvyx<>><TavTfs T))v 
Siapcovida 6&6v, k.t.X. 


point, therefore, travellers were compelled to pick their 
way among the fragments as well as they might, descending 
into the water and remounting by a precipitous track. As 
we passed workmen were busy repairing the rupture, so 
that at that moment it was worse than ever ; but, after all, 
not alarming to any one who has travelled in the Alps. 

There are two other roads to Corinth, one passing 
near to the summit of the mountain, and a road still 
more circuitous, more difficult, and therefore more defen- 
sible, by the opposite flank. If the Athenians could have 
gained possession of Megara, they might have defended 
the passes of Mount Geranea, and being at the same time 
masters of the sea, they would have sealed up the Pelopon- 
nesians within their own peninsula, isolating them from 
the Boeotians, and effectually protecting Attica. Hence 
the bitterness with which they regarded the stubborn 
little people who, with the clannish feeling so much more 
marked in the Dorians than in the Ionians, clung to their 
brethren through good and evil. It is probable that the 
principal traffic in old times passed over the middle road. 
It might indeed, at first sight, be inferred, from the passage 
of Herodotus just quoted, that the Scironian road was the 
only road in the time of the Persian war ; but this inference, 
improbable in itself, is not warranted by the text of the 
author. It was indeed the only road which they were able 
effectually to render impracticable, as it was cut in the 
rock along the side of a steep and, in places, precipitous cliff 
overhanging the sea \ the road over the mountain offered no 
such facilities for defence. Besides, if the Peloponnesians 
could have thus effectually barred the advance of the 
Persians at this point, there would have been no need for 


their entrenchments across the isthmus. In the late war 
General Church occupied the central road, and built a 
series of stone walls across it to afford cover for sharp- 
shooters. This plan of defence would probably have been 
of no avail before the introduction of fire-arms. At all 
events, the Greeks did not attempt it against the Persians. 
The coast-road along the Scironian rocks, we may infer 
from Pausanias, was not practicable for carriages till 
Hadrian's time. Whether the middle road was practicable 
for carriages may be doubted. I could see no trace of 
wheels, and incline to the negative. 

How, then, did the ' Seven against Thebes' or the 
Epigoni pass with their chariots from Argolis to Bceotia ? 
Of course I do not regard these events as historical, but 
the difficulty must have occurred to some matter-of-fact 
critic. Again, how did mainlanders who entered their 
chariots for games held in the peninsula, or vice versa, 
get them thither ? Either the chariots were sent by sea, 
as Hiero's must have been, or they were taken to pieces 
and transported as so much baggage on the backs of pack- 
horses or mules. The well-bred horses which were to 
run in the races would be generally sent by sea, as being 
less liable to accident than if they travelled by the rough 
and stony tracks. It is certain that in the beginning of 
the fifth century b.c there was nothing like a smooth 
and continuous road between Athens and Sparta, else 
Phidippides would not have gone on foot when so much 
depended on his speed. 1 

After passing the rocks we came about ten to the village 

1 Herodotus, vi. io,. 


of Kineta, which Colonel Leake supposes to be the site of 
Cronimyon. The thick underwood which here lines the 
shore hides all traces of antiquity, if such exist. Leaving 
the woods, we paused to look at the singular and beautiful 
colour of the landscape. All the hill-side was starred 
thick with the white and lilac flowers of the sage-leaved 
cistus and hoary with grey thyme ; and further off, where 
the eye could no longer distinguish the separate flowers, 
it presented a strange glossy surface, like a lawn covered 
with a veil of silver tissue. Above the silvery slope a 
wood of light-green, round-topped pines shone yellowing 
in the sunlight, mixed with plots of flowering gorse. The 
air was filled with the fragrance of the thyme, as our 
horses trampled and cropped it. 

At half-past eleven we came to a halt at Agios Theodoros, 
a solitary little chapel by the seaside. We bathed while 
Constantine lighted his fire and Alexander spread our table 
under the shade of a lentisk, that abundant shrub which 
occasionally, as here, grows into a tree. 

In the wall of the little chapel is an inscription, 1 of 
which this is a translation : — 

1 1, Philostrata, am gone to the sources of my being, 
leaving the bond wherewith nature bound me; for, after 
completing my fourteenth year, in the fifteenth I left the 

1 The inscriptiou runs thus : — 

[<£i]Aoo"rpaTa (Heftr/na irrjyas els epa? 
[X]enrovaa 8eo-pov a> cpvcris crvvei^e pe 
eVi roi<r[i] 8exa yap recra-ap' (KTrkrjcracr (ttj 
TrefxTTTO) to aoopa KaTaXekonra rrapBtvos 
dnais diwpcpos rjtdeos 6tg> S' epa>s 
Zoarjs eveo-Tiv a(pdova>s yrjpacrKeTW. 


body, a virgin, childless, unwedded. Whosoever hath a 
love of life, let him grow to old age unenvied.' 

The sense and phraseology of this inscription show that 
it was composed by some Platonist during that neutral 
period, that Wasser-stillstand, which intervened between 
the ebb of Pagan and the flow of Christian devotion, pro- 
bably in the fourth or fifth century, when traces of the 
old philosophy still survived the wreck of the old religion 
within the Avails of Athens, Corinth, and the dwindling 
cities of Greece. Clement Marot, who lived in a period 
of similar spiritual stagnation, when the old forms of faith 
had lost their power over the heart, wrote on a young 
maid of honour of the Duchess of Ferrara an epitaph 
singularly resembling that on Philostrata in tone and 
spirit : — 

De Beauregard Anne suis qui d'enfance 

Laissay parents, pays, amis et France, 

Pour suivre ici la Duchesse Renee, 

Laquelle j 'ay depuis abandonnee, 

Futur epoux, beaute, fleurissant age, 

Pour aller veoir au ciel mon heritage, 

Laissant le monde avec moindre soucy 

Qu'en laissant France alors que vins icy. 

Leaving Agios Theodoros at two o'clock, we came in 
something more than an hour to Kalamaki, where the 
Austrian steamer for Athens lands its passengers to cross 
the isthmus. It is a little village with a custom-house. Its 
old name was Schoinos, which is also the name for lentisk, 
that grows so abundantly here. Had it been Schinos 
(Anglice, ' squill '), one might have supposed it to have 
been a nickname referring facetiously to the neighbouring 
Krommyon (onion). 


About a mile beyond Kalamaki is the sanctuary of 
Poseidon, where we dismounted and stayed two hours. 
On a subsequent occasion I was able to spend several 
hours more on the spot. I shall put down here the 
results of both investigations. 

The peribolus, or sacred enclosure, is of so irregular a 
shape, that it defies definition or description, and can only 
be conceived by a plan, which will be found at the end of 
the volume. It occupies the angle of a natural platform, 
and its shape is owing to the nature of the ground. The 
wall a b is built along the edge of a ravine fifty or sixty 
feet in depth. Similarly the wall b c stands on the 
crest of a steep bank, which is highest at b, and gradually 
diminishes to c. The sides c d, d a, are built on a 
level, a b formed part of the Isthmic wall, the remains 
of which may be traced in an almost continuous line to- 
wards the west, and are still discernible in places towards 
the east also. There cannot be a doubt that this wall 
occupies the place of the earthworks thrown up by the 
Peloponnesians during the Persian invasion, for this is at 
once the narrowest part of the isthmus and the most 
defensible position, thanks to the ravine which intersects 
it here. 

The main part of the present wall is held by Col. 
Leake to be clearly Hellenic, though we have no infor- 
mation as to the time or occasion of its construction. 
But when we reflect that, with the exception of the period 
treated of by Thucydides, Greek history has come down 
to us in mere fragments, we need not be surprised at the 
omission. There were many occasions on which we may 
conceive it to have been built. It has been frequently 


repaired and restored by the successive owners of the 

The wall a d, running at right angles to the former, is 
even stronger. It is furnished with towers at intervals, 
so that the peribolus forms a- fortress of itself quite inde- 
pendent of the Isthmic wall. Its construction clearly 
proves it to be a military work, not the mere boundary 
line of the sacred ground. On the outside of this wall 
are the remains of some houses, and of a small church 
apparently of great antiquity. "Within the enclosure there 
remains not a trace of either the temple of Poseidon or 
any of the other temples mentioned by Pausanias. On 
my second visit I found at a, tumbled down among the 
fragments of the wall, a great many drums of small Doric 
columns, with portions of an architrave and cornice ; the 
chord of the fluting measures four inches. These, which 
being partly hid among shrubs, have not been noticed by 
any other traveller, belonged in all probability to the pro- 
pylsea of the sacred enclosure. They are of grey lime- 
stone, and, I think, of ancient workmanship. At this 
point an artificial slope has been constructed for a road, 
and at a little distance a cutting has been made in a low 
hill for the same purpose. There must also, I think, have 
been another entrance at b, where the wall curves inward. 
Among the broken ruins of the wall one may trace a flight 
of broad steps. Close to this is a fragment of a Doric 
column; probably the same which Col. Leake saw and 
supposed to have belonged to the temple of Poseidon, as 
my measurement of the fluting coincides with his. 

The entrance at b, I conceive, may have been ' the 
sacred entrance ' mentioned in an inscription (now in 
the museum of Verona), which records the repairs 


II, u, 2 


r 7 
S c 




W 4 

/ VaturaJ i;n,la< Z.AnciatiL Bridge 3. Tlieatre-. 4. Stadium 

5 I:, n mi 

J II /.ran faJp 

Ionian, John II Tarka- U Son II- n:-,-i Strands. 


executed by a high priest with a Roman name, and 
so called as being that by which processions passed 
from the stadium to the temple. It is obvious that 
there must have been another entrance besides that 
at a, for that is on the side furthest removed from 
Corinth and from the stadium, and they would scarcely 
make a circuitous route, and descend the hill, merely 
for the pleasure of reascending it. If the temple stood 
at c, which is the most likely place, exactly fronting the 
entrance at b, the avenue of statues and pine-trees, of 
which Pausanias speaks, most likely extended to a, by 
which he, approaching from Megara, entered the Hierum. 
The temple of Palsemon, which, he says, was on the left, 
would stand in the corner at b. The whole space is now 
vacant, except that there is a little church at d. Close to 
it I noticed a small unfluted column of cipollino, and in 
another part of the enclosure a similar column of white 
marble. Outside, at e, close to b, the side of the glen is 
faced with an ancient Hellenic wall ; at the bottom of 
which are oblong rectangular holes, clearly intended for 
drainage, and, I should think, meant to carry off the 
water from the concavity of the stadium, which, from its 
position and shape, would be liable to be flooded. The 
stadium occupies a dell between two spurs of a hill south 
of the Hierum. 1 The cheimarrous, or winter-torrent, 
which had formed the dell, was diverted, or else carried 
underground, to the outlets just mentioned. It has now 
resumed its natural course, and broken through the semi- 
circular end of the stadium. Not a vestige remains of 

Pindar's ecrXoii H(\ottos 7rrvxai (Nem. ii. 2l), and fiao-aat 
'ladfiov (Isth. iii. 11). 



the seats of white marble which Pausanias mentions as 
* worth seeing/ Its area is filled with fragments of 
pottery, and overgrown with tufts of wild thyme, lentisk, 
and sage. The unbroken stillness of the desert now pre- 
vails from clay to day, from year to year, in the spot 
which for so many ages, at each recurring festival, rang to 
the shouts of the eager crowd that thronged its marble 
steps. This stadium, however, has an especial claim upon 
our regard, more than the sentimental interest which 
attaches to all such sites. It was in the mind of St. Paul 
when he wrote to the Corinthians 1 — ' Know ye not that 

1 I Cor. Lx. 24. — ovk olBare on 01 ev crrabito Tpe^ovres 7rdvres pev 
rpexovaiv, k.t.X. And in the 26th verse he refers to the pugilistic 
combats of the Isthmian games, using the remarkable technical term 
inrcoTTidfa, so inadequately rendered in our version by ' keep under.' 
These pugilistic encounters took place probably in the theatre, for 
Lucian, speaking of them, says {Anacharsis, ii.) — ev tijXikovtois Oedrpois 
oid o~v Birjyfj, to 'ladpol Kai to ev ^OXvpiriq. Were this, however, not 
probable on other grounds, the words just quoted would not be con- 
clusive, as Oearpov may mean the mass of spectators as well as the 
place properly so called. I quote the Anacharsis of Lucian, chiefly 
because it throws such remarkable light on some of St. Paul's allu- 
sions. Compare the following : — 

A vax- • • ■ raXanrcopovpevoi Kai diaxvvovTes to. kuWt] ko\ tci peyeQr) 
T H Y a f x H- ( ! } KaL toIs vircoTTtois, ous pr)\ov Kal kot'ivov eytcpareis yevoivro 
viK7)0~avTes . . . ardp, elire pot, navres avra ~kapfidvovo-iv ol dya>- 
viarrai; 2 o X. ov8apa>s, dX\a eis e£ dndvrcov 6 Kparrjo-as aircov. 
Ava%. eir & 26\cov iiri ra> dSijXw Ka\ dp(pift6\a> rrjs viKrjs too-ovtoi 

iTovova-i ; and with regard to the spectators, ak\oi 8e a\\a X 66i 

navres e'yKovovo-i Ka\ dvaTnjSacriv coo-rrep Beovres iiri roil avrov ptvovres 
Kai is to ai/w o-vvaWopevoi XaKTi'£ouo-£ tov depa. (lb. 4.) The verbal 
coincidences are so numerous and so striking, as almost to persuade us 
that Lucian was acquainted with St. Paul's language j and, if this be 
so, it goes far to support the notion entertained by some that Lucian 
was a renegade Christian. Certainly the author of the Philopatris, 


tlicy which run in a stadium, run all, but one receivetli 
the prize V and, continuing the allusion, he assumes their 
familiarity with the careful and laborious training of the 
athletes. f Now he that striveth for the mastery is tem- 
perate in all things. They do it to obtain a corruptible 
crown ' — the crown of pine, taken, doubtless, from the 
sacred trees within the Hierum — ' but we an incorruptible. 
So run that ye may obtain.' 

About one hundred and fifty yards west of the Hierum 
are the remains of the theatre, consisting of rough stones, 
mortar, and a mass of small pebbles. It was faced with 
marble, like the stadium. 1 Spon, who visited the spot in 
1676, speaks of 'les beaux restes d'un theatre de pierre 

which bears his name, had read the account of St. Paul's speech to 
the Athenians on Mars' Hill — fjpels 8e top iv 'Adrjvats ' AyvaxrTov 
fffievpovres, k.t.\. (Luc. Philopatris, xxix.) 

If it were certain that the above passages in the Anacharsis were 
written by one who had in his mind the words of the epistle, we 
should then have strong ground for assigning to iyKparfverai, in 
verse 25, a meaning corresponding with that of e'yKpare'is, ' makes 
himself master of.' This would give a peculiar and appropriate force 
to Toivvv in verse 2^>, and the general sense of the Apostle's words 
would run thus : — 

' Know ye not that they who run in a stadium run indeed all, but 
one receives the prize ? So rim that ye may win (i.e. choose a race in 
which you shall all get a prize). In the Christian race every one who 
contends obtains all prizes ; the athletes of the Isthmian games contend 
to win a coiTuptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run 
confidently, having no uncertainty about the result ; I fight in very 
earnest, not like a mere spectator mechanically mimicking the pugilists ; 
my adversary in the ring is my body, which I bruise and maltreat like 
a very slave, lest after I have proclaimed rules to others, I myself 
should be disgraced when put to the final proof.' 

Qeas Se a£ia tun piv Qearpov ecrri fie arabiov \160v Xevxov. 
— Pans. ii. 1, -. 

E 2 


blanche/ but neither he nor his companion Wheler men- 
tions the stadium. Pausan*ias, when he speaks of f white 
stone/ always means ' marble/ Now, as Mr. Spon is by 
no means to be implicitly trusted, it may be doubted 
whether he really records what he saw or merely mis- 
translates and misunderstands what Pausanias saw. On 
the high ground above the theatre are several fragments 
of white marble, and some large wrought stones. About 
two hundred yards beyond the theatre, to the westward, 
is the bed of a torrent, narrow and deep. Descending 
here by chance through some thick brushwood, I found a 
bridge not mentioned by any traveller, and unknown to 
our guide. The torrent being nearly dry, I was able to 
pass through the arch and measure it. An arch it un- 
questionably is. It has been repaired and elongated 
towards the south, apparently in Roman times, as mortar 
is there used ; but the older part has no mortar, and has 
all the characteristics of the best times of Hellenic 
masonry. The arch is about four feet wide, six feet high, 
and twenty-seven feet long. The stones of which it is 
composed are of great size — some of them six feet in 
length. A little lower down, the stream finds its outlet 
into the ravine by a natural chasm, into which I made 
my way without much difficulty. Above the bridge are 
the remains of a tower, built of uu wrought stones and 
mortar; there are also traces of late walls at intervals, 
from this place to the upper end of the stadium. From 
this I infer that the fortress, comprising at first only the 
Hierum, was at a later period enlarged, so that the right 
bank of the torrent and the northern side of the stadium 
formed part of its exterior defences. 


To return to my narrative. Yielding at last to the 
impatience of our guide, we left the ruins at half-past 
five, and soon came to a smooth expanse of ground 
(perhaps the very site of the ancient Hippodrome) which 
suggested the idea of a race; and a small Pinus maritima 1 
close to the goal furnished a crown for the head of the 
victor, — or, in literal fact, a sprig for his hat. Soon 
after, in the twilight, we passed the great quarries out of 
which Corinth was built. It was dark when we reached 
our journey 's end. 

Corinth has retrograded in civilization since the date 
of the Handbook. The paragraph headed ' Corinth : Inns/ 
may now be written in identical terms with the famous 
chapter on Irish snakes — ( There are none/ The ' civil 
and attentive landlord of the Great Britain ' has died, and 
left no sign ; and as to the ' other inn' mentioned in the 
book, people denied all knowledge of its existence, past 
or present. 

We were received in a private house. After dinner 
we strolled by moonlight through the village — for modern 
Corinth is but a village — and wandered among the old 
columus which have looked down upon the rise, the 
prosperity, and the desolation of two successive Corinths. 

Colonel Leake, after an elaborate examination of the 

1 In equestrian contests, however, the crown seems to have been, 
not pine, but parsley, as at Neniea. Acopicou o-Tfcfidvoofia creXiVcov 
(Pind. Isth. ii. 15). The aiXivov was a favourite plant with the 
Dorians, and gave its name to one of their cities in Sicily. Perhaps 
they chose it from its resemblance in sound to "EXX771/, as the Ionians 
chose their flower, the 'iov. ' Canting,' even in heraldry, is of Pagan 


question, has arrived at the conclusion that these columns 
are the remains of a temple erected probably by the Bac- 
ehiadee in the beginning of the eighth century before 
Christ, and certainly not later than the middle of the fol- 
lowing century, and are therefore almost as old as Homer. 
' Whatever be the actual date, it is certain that we have 
here the most ancient temple-ruins in Greece. We not 
only find in them the narrow intercolumniation, tapering 
shafts, projecting capitals, and lofty architraves which are 
the attributes of the early Doric, and which were perpe- 
tuated in the architecture of the western colonies of 
Greece, but we find also that the chief characteristic of 
those buildings is still stronger in the Corinthian temple 
than in any of them, its shaft being shorter in proportion 
to the diameter, than in any known example of the Doric 
order, and, unlike that of any other Doric column of large 
dimensions, being composed of a single block of stone.' ' 

Colonel Leake is disposed to assign the ruins to the 
temple of Athene Chalinitis. But it appears to me that 
there is just as much reason for thinking that they be- 
longed to the temple of Fortune, or that of All the 
Gods, or that of Apollo. The temple of Athene was 
adjacent to the theatre, 2 and the theatre was in all like- 
lihood on the slope of the Aero-Corinth ; for it is not 
probable that the Corinthians alone, of all the Greeks, 
would neglect facilities offered by nature. Hence we should 
infer that the said temple was nearer to the foot of the 
hill than the existing ruins are. 

Colonel Leake's Morea, vol. iii. cli. xxviii. p. 2J.9. 
2 Paus. ii. 4, 5. 


But it would be a waste of time to attempt to dis- 
cuss the topography of ancient Corinth ; of all the 
buildings, sacred and secular, of the old city, no trace 
remains, except a few unsightly heaps of Roman brick- 
work, which have outlived their history as completely 
as the pyramids. The ancient walls, famed for their 
dimensions, have entirely disappeared. Colonel Leake 
describes an amphitheatre excavated in the rock on the 
eastern side of the modern town, and supposes that, as 
Pausanias does not mention it, it may be posterior to 
his time. I did not take the trouble to visit this work, 
as it was ( only Roman ' of a comparatively contemptible 
antiquity, and belonging to a period with which one has 
little acquaintance and no sympathy. Were such a relic 
in Britain, people would go hundreds of miles to visit it 
as one of the earliest monuments of human labour. In 
Greece people do not care to turn a few hundred yards 
out of their way for its sake. I have siuce regretted this 
and similar omissions of laziness and insouciance ; this 
especially, as I should have liked to see whether there be 
any ground for a hypothesis which has occurred to me, 
that the old theatre was on the same site, and was altered 
into an amphitheatre when the refined amusements of the 
Greek citizen had given place to the brutal amusements 
of the Roman soldier, and mimic tragedy failed to move 
men whose eyes were feasted with the sight of real blood. 
In this way we account for the disappearance of the 
theatre, which is generally, by the nature of the case, the 
most indestructible of all the monuments of an ancient 
Greek city. 

We rose betimes in the morning to ascend the Aero- 


Corinth. The upper part of this magnificent natural for- 
tress is all precipitous crag, the lower part a succession of 
steep slopes, propping the wall as it were. The rock, a 
grey limestone, overlies a bed of red schist, and at the 
point of junction land-springs ooze out, which keep the 
slopes green with grass till far in the summer. The hill 
culminates in two summits ; between and about which is 
a space of broken but still available ground, girt with a 
winding battlemented wall of medieval structure, shining 
white in contrast with green-sward and grey rock, and 
suggesting the simile of a necklace carelessly flung on. 
We reached the fortress gates in about an hour, and were 
admitted by one of the half-dozen old soldiers who form 
the garrison. The most sheltered part of the inclosure is 
filled with the ruins of a Turkish village. Among these 
is a mosque, with its minaret like the chimney of a fur- 
nace. There is another mosque near the highest point of 
the hill. On the very summit stood a temple of Aphro- 
dite Urania, 1 to whom the voluptuous Corinthians devoted 
the highest of their high places, and just below it a well. 
Every trace of the temple has vanished ; but the well is 
there still, ' full/ as in Strabo's time, c of sweet and clear 
water.' This is the famous Peirene, the supposed source 
of the fountain of that name in the lower town, the pride 

1 That Aphrodite was worshipped at Corinth under this epithet 
may be inferred from a fragment of Pindar (ix. I, 3), olpaviav wrapevai 
vorjfia noTTav 'A(ppo8iTav : though the passage of Pausanias which 
Dissen quotes as direct authority for the statement (ii. 23. 8), relates 
to Argos, not to Corinth. The second book of Pausanias is called 
Corrnthiaca — hence Dissen's mistake — but really includes Sicyon and 
the Argive cities. 


and boast of the ancient Corinthians. And this was how 
they came by it : — TVhen Zens had carried off iEgina, the 
daughter of Asopus, Sisyphus, who was somehow in the 
secret, offered to give information to the bereaved father 
on condition of being provided with a supply of water in 
Aero-Corinth. The bargain was struck. Asopus gave 
the fountain, and Zeus sent the tell-tale to dree his dole 
in Hades. But this last particular, in Pausanias's opinion, 
wants confirmation. 

The panoramic view which the summit commands is 
widely famous, and deserves all its fame. It has been 
described by many travellers; by so many indeed, that 
another description may be thought superfluous. Yet 
though the point of view remains the same for all, the 
prospect is infinitely varied according to the hour of the 
day, the season of the year, and the conditions of the 
. atmosphere. Sometimes the air is so clear and so still, 
and the outlines of the most distant objects so distinct, 
that the hills are dwarfed to the appearance of the hills 
on a raised map. It was very different as we saw it. 
Towards the north a blue mist filled the valleys and hid 
the bases of the hills, and lay upon the distant sea, so that 
it was hard to distinguish where the vapour ended and 
the water began. The summits of Helicon, Parnassus, 
and the iEtolian hills, still covered with snow, stood up 
bold and clear with deep purple sky behind ; but lower 
down the outlines grew less and less distinct, the masses 
seemed less and less solid, fading away into ethereal 
dimness and ' the blue hyacin thine haze ' which ' lay 
dreaming round their roots/ There was something 
strangely beautiful in this inversion of the common 


conditions of nature. The earth-born giants seemed to 
have scaled heaven at last. 

Turning round towards the east, we have before us 
the sharp ridge of Geranea stretching out a long penin- 
sula into the Corinthian Gulf; then Parnes, Pentelicus, 
and Hymettus; then the Saronic Gulf, studded with 
islands and glimmering in the sunshine. Towards the 
south the prospect is comparatively limited by the high 
table land and hills of Argolis. The lower slopes of the 
valleys are covered with cornfields, and the higher with 
tracts of wild brushwood. A little to the west of south 
the rocky, castle-crowned peak, which is called Pendes- 
kouphia, occupies the foreground ; and beyond it are seen 
the mountains that stand about Nemea, and prominent 
among them the Phouka, shaped like a truncated cone. 

To the west we look upon a succession of long hills 
sloping down to the Gulf of Corinth, breaking away at 
intervals in abrupt steps white like chalk, but edged above 
with red ; doubtless the decomposed schist washed down 
by rains. Where the slopes are bare the colour is red or 
grey; where covered with shrubs, like the level table- 
lands, dark olive-green. Beyond these are higher ranges 
of grey limestone dotted with black pines, and high over 
all the snow r y peaks of Cyllene. Immediately below us 
to the north we see the village of Corinth standing about 
those dark columns. The ground about it, now green 
with wheat, and maize, and vines, descends in a succession 
of terraces to the belt of barren sand which lines the 

In wandering over the summit of the hill I found 
several wells opening into large covered tanks ; doubtless 


the same which Strabo says he was told of, but did not 
see (p. 379). These, with the perennial spring before 
mentioned, secured the Aero-Corinth from what must 
have been the weak point of the isolated mountain- 
fortresses of Greece — want of water. But for this fatal 
defect, the Peloponnesus has a thousand fortresses as 
impregnable as the Aero-Corinth, though scarce one so 
spacious, and none situated in so commanding a position. 
Since the introduction of gunpowder Aero-Corinth is 
assailable from several points. Even before that date, 
when ' arbaletriers' served for artillery men, the fortress 
was attacked from Pendeskouphia and another post to the 
northward. The Greek Chronicle of the French Conquest 
of the Morea says (1474-1479): — 

Aonrov Start eVt to ftovvlv tov Kacrrpov rr/s KopivSov 
nXarv /cat /xe'ya (f)o[3ep6v Kai aTvavco eVt to Kaarpov 
evpio~KeTai Trpos peo~rjpl3piav tov eneivov tov KaaTpov 
okuti eva [iovvonovkov, Tpa\6vi yap pe o~TTifKaiov, 
Kai a>pio-ev ivTavda 6 TIpiyKiwas /cat cnvavca eKTiae KaaTpov 
MovvTeo-Kovfie to uivopaaav, ovtcos to Kpa^ovv 7raXat. 

Thus we see that the word Pendeskouphia, or ' Five- 
caps/ the origin of which has, I dare say, puzzled many 
ingenious topographers, is nothing but a corruption of 
Montesquiou, itself compounded of ' mont ' and an old 
word ' esquieu,' 1 in Provencal ecuelh, in modern French 
ecueil. 2 So that a word at first sight seeming to be 
compounded of two obvious modern Greek words, is 
really derived ultimately from two Latin words, ' mons ' 
and ' scopulus.' 

The passage I have quoted, by way of specimen, from 

1 Buchon, Moree, i. 87. 2 Diez, Lexicon Ling. Rom. 


the Chronicle, tells how Guillaume de Ville Hardouin, 
Prince of the Morea, aided by Guillaume de la Roche, 
the Megas Kyr, or Great Lord, Grand Duke, of Athens, 
took the Aero-Corinth after it had held out in possession 
of the Greeks for forty-two years. The French first 
established themselves in the Morea in 1205, and the 
Aero-Corinth was captured in 1247. 'When they finally 
abandoned the principality in 1333, the fortress reverted 
of course to the Greek emperors. In 1458 Mohammed 
the Second, after subduing the rest of the Morea, gained 
possession of it also ; partly by the effect of a battery 
which he established on Pendeskouphia, and partly by the 
treachery of the Greek archbishop. So, from that time 
to the War of Liberation in 1821-1827, this ' fortress, 
formed for freedom's hands,' remained in the occupation 
of Turk or Venetian ; the one tyrannical and oppressive, 
both aliens to the people whom they ruled. Freedom's 
hands were too weak to hold it; and, indeed, considering 
the heterogeneous elements of which the population was 
composed, Sclavonian, Albanian, Greek, it would have 
been hard to say which were Freedom's hands. Not that 
the poet had any meaning in particular when he used the 

He fagoted his notions as they fell, 

And if they rhymed and rattled, all was well. 

W 1 



"E left Corinth about eleven. As we were riding 
through the street a man with a large basket, passing 
in great haste, tendered to each of us a handful of boiled 
wheat; what is called < fermety ' in the south of England, 
and, more correctly, ' frumenty ' in the north. I was 
informed that, when a death occurs, one of the relatives 
goes round the town offering this boiled wheat to every 
one he meets. What is the origin or meaning of the 
custom I cannot discover. 

Turning to the left, we rode through a narrow ravine 
whose chalky sides painfully reflected the sunlight. In 
two hours we passed the site of Cleonse; f a little city' 
in Pausanias's time, and now a desert. The direction of 
the walls may be traced, but there is not enough above 
ground whereby to test the accuracy of Homer's epithet," 
'well-built.' 1 Pursuing our way over high and stony 
ground tufted with low shrubs, marked here and there 
with traces of an ancient carriage-road, we reached in an 
hour and twenty minutes 2 the edge of the tableland, and 
looked down upon a level plain of rare verdure, surrounded 

1 Iliad, ii. 570. 
2 Mr. Grote (vol. ii. p. 625) says that the grove of Nemea was less 
than two miles from Cleonas. This is an error. 


on all sides by bleak, grey, barren hills worn by the 
winter torrents into a thousand furrows. Every glen 
contributes its runlet ; many a landspring, too, unseen 
feeds the herbage and helps to swell the river Nemea, 
which serpentines through the deep alluvium of the plain, 
and at last finds an outlet, not visible from the place 
where we stand, between two lofty peaks which rise to 
the northward. The f deep-plained/ ' the ' well-watered " 
Nemea ! To the west side, ridge above ridge, are the moun- 
tain barriers of Arcadia. A white track winding up the 
opposite slope and along a glen which opens out right in 
front, leads to the site of old Phlius. Hence Pindar 3 
speaks of Nemea as 'lying under Phlius' hills primeval, 
bare of shade/ not clothed with dark forests, like Helicon 
and Parnassus, the hills which looked down on his own 
Boeotian plain. Strabo mentions Nemea as lying between 
Cleonoe and Phlius. The ordinary road between these 
places doubtless took the course which we have been 
following, and, crossing the plain, ascended again by the 
white track of which I have spoken above. Pindar else- 
where 4 calls the Nemean festival ' the Cleoneau contest ;' 
partly because the place lay still nearer to Cleonse than 

1 PaOvneSos Nefteiti. — Pindar. Nem. iii. 30. 

8 evvdpov Seperjs, — Theocr. xxv. 182. 
iVeffi. iv. 4<5 — fiorava re viv ivoff a Xeovros viKacravr epe(f>' 
daKiois <&Klovvtos inr wyvylois opeaiv. Critics are agreed to ti - ans- 
late aa-Kiois here as ' shady,' considering the a to he intensive ; but I 
think the other rendering is much more probable. The description 
given in the text is almost verbatim what I wrote on the spot. 
Pindar's evcpvXkos Ne/^ea {Isth. v. 61) refers to the grove of cypresses 
around the temple. — Paus. ii. 15, 2. 

4 Nem. iv. 16. 


to Phlius, and partly because the people of Cleonae 
were by right presidents of the games. Below, on the 
level, rise three tall columns, two of them supporting 
a fragment of architrave ; on the side of a hill to the 
left are the remains of a stadium ; and last, but not 
least, a few hundred yards below to the right, is a ruinous 
Turkish fountain, and near it a spring of water. Here we 
halted for rest and luncheon, and afterwards walked to 
the stadium. At first sight it presents, as Colonel Leake 
says, the appearance of a theatre, so short are the earth- 
banks on each side of the semicircular end. That it is a 
stadium, however, there can be no doubt, as there are 
traces of masonry supporting a cross-wall at a distance of 
something more than two hundred yards from the semi- 
circle, the normal length of the stadium. I do not think, 
from their position, that the ends of the embankments can 
have been carried away, as Colonel Leake suggests, by 
winter rains. I rather suppose that they have never 
existed. Nature has not done so much here as in many 
other sites, and to complete the stadium would require the 
construction of artificial embankments and a great amount 
of labour. Either the cost was too great in a place so 
poor and so remote, or the natural banks, being very high, 
afforded sufficient room for the spectators; or, again, 
some temporary scaffolding might have been put up at 
each festival for additional accommodation. In the face 
of a scaur above the stadium is a conspicuous cavern - 
mouth. I wonder that it has not been claimed on behalf 
of the Nemean Lion. 

Mounting our horses, we rode down to the temple. 
The wall which fenced the sacred cypress-grove about the 


temple may still be traced at intervals. In one corner a 
church has been built out of the ruins, and is now a ruin 
itself. The three tall Doric columns look down upon the 
disjecta membra of their prostrate brethren. Thereby 
hangs one of those puzzles on which archeologists love to 
exercise their ingenuity. The slender proportions of these 
columns — each having the length of six diameters — and 
approximating to the rules of the Ionic order, seem to 
indicate that the edifice is of late construction. On the 
other hand, the roof had fallen already when Pausanias 
saw it, and it is more probable that a new temple would 
be erected when the games were growing in popularity, 
than during the period of their decline. Colonel Leake 
conjectures that it was built about the time of Pindar, 
and accounts for the inordinate height of the columns by 
supposing that among the lofty hills a tall building would 
be more appropriate than in a town. 

I cannot agree with this theory. The towering hills do 
not inspire the architect with emulation, but rather produce 
a sense of the littleness of all human work. The lofty 
spires of English churches are to be found not in Cum- 
berland — puny rivals of Skiddaw and Helvellyn — but in 
the flats and fens of Lincolnshire, with nothing earthly to 
dispute their proud pre-eminence. 

On leaving Nemea we crossed a ridge of hills of no 
great elevation towards the south-east, and descending a 
glen, joined the direct road from Corinth to Argos. This 
is the road known by the name of Tretos, or ' the per- 
forated;' not, I conceive, in consequence of the caverns in 
the neighbouring rocks, which are not more numerous 
hereabouts than elsewhere, but because the glen itself is, 


as it were, drilled through the rock. And drilled it has 
been by the stream which flows at the bottom. We saw, 
or fancied we saw, frequent wheel-marks in the rocks, and 
we know that this was the direction of a carriage-road. 
But from my subsequent observations I learnt to distrust 
these marks. The ordinary mode of carrying wood in 
Greece is to tie the heavier ends of the poles on each side 
to the back of the horse or donkey, and suffer the other 
ends to trail along the ground, thus making two parallel 
ruts which in course of time may attain the depth of and 
be mistaken for wheel-tracks. When a depression is once 
made, it becomes a channel for the winter rains, and so is 
smoothed and deepened. 

During the War of Independence the Greeks inflicted 
in this pass a tremendous defeat upon the Turks; and 
for years after, the bones of unburied thousands showed 
where the fight, or rather massacre, had been. Now 
all traces are obliterated by a luxuriant growth of 
dwarf planes, oleander, myrtle, holly, and two kinds of 

By-and-bye the glen opened out into the plain of A.rgos ; 
and after three hours' ride from Nemea, we halted at a 
lonely, poverty-stricken house, called the Khan of Khar- 
vata. We were lodged in an upper room with mud walls, 
holes for windows, and a roof through which at night I 
watched the stars. The sumptuous dinner provided by 
our cook presented an absurd contrast to the squalor of 
our apartment. The absurdity was often repeated, and 
always met with indulgent toleration. 

On the following morning we walked to the ruins of 
Mycenre, passing through the village of Kharvata on our 


way. These ruins have been described minutely by Colonel 
Leake, popularly by Mr. Mure, succinctly by the author 
of the Handbook, and variously by other travellers. They 
have been so elaborately measured, drawn, delineated in 
ground -plans and sections, that to give another detailed 
account would be merely to reiterate what others have 
already said. I shall therefore only notice a few points on 
which I fancy I have something of my own to say, for 
the rest referring my readers to the above-mentioned 
authorities, and merely prefixing a brief general sketch 
in order to make myself intelligible to those who have not 
the means of consulting the books which I recommend. 

In the chain of mountains which bounds the plain of 
Argos to the westward, between two eminent and prominent 
giants, is a narrow glen, which opens out as it descends 
and terminates towards the plain in a tongue of tableland 
(if the term may be used of ground only comparatively 
level). On the south side is a profound and precipitous 
crag ; on the north a rugged, stony steep ; and at the foot 
of crag and steep, on either side, a mountain-stream. At 
the western extremity of this rocky platform a long ridge 
stretches downwards to the plain, trending southwards as 
it descends, with sides sloping gently on the left, steeply 
on the right, to the bed of the respective torrents, which 
join in one at the apex of the triangle. The platform, 
thus impregnable on three sides, and commanding, from 
its position, an abundant supply of water from the natural 
drainage of the hills, unites those indispensable requisites 
which the earliest inhabitants of Greece always sought in 
the sites of their cities. If there were not one stone left 
upon another, we might still affirm with certainty that a 


city had once stood there. As it is, both the site and the 
extant remains agree with all ancient testimony, from 
Homer to Pausanias, to prove that here, ' in a nook of the 
horse-pasturing plain of Argos, stood the city of the 
Mycenae, rich in gold.' ' ' Besides other portions of the 
circuit-wall there remains the gate, and there are lions 
standing over it, and they say that these also were the 
handiwork of the Cyclopes, who made the wall at Tiryns 
for Prcetus.' 2 Thus seventeen centuries ago — nay, six 
centuries before that, at the birth of history — these walls 
were of a fashion which had even then so utterly passed 
away — of an antiquity which was left so completely without 
record, that, in the belief of the men who dwelt beside 
them, they had been piled by fabulous monsters for a 
mythic king. A story which no more contains any 
fruitful germ of truth, than the name which the Suffolk 
peasants have given to the Dyke that crosses the heath at 
Newmarket. From the passage just quoted we see that 
neither Pausanias, nor those who told the legend, recognised 
the distinction which some antiquaries draw between 
Cyclopean and polygonal building. There are specimens 
of both in the Avails of Mycenee; but the latter prepon- 
derates, and is exclusively employed about the Gate of 
Lions. If the term Cyclopean be employed at all, it 
would be well to employ it in the sense in which it was 
used by those who invented it, as a common term for 
both styles. In the earlier, huge blocks unwrought are 

1 Homer, Od. iii. 263. iEgisthus, pvx<{> "Apyeos ImrofioToio ttoW 
Ayapepvoverjv ciXoxov #e'AyeoV eTreeacriv ; and, after slaying Agamem- 
non (30 <j), enrdfTes S' rjvaacrc Trokv)(pv<joio MvKrjvrjs. 
2 Paus. ii. 16, 4. 
F 2 


piled one upon another, and the interstices filled with 
smaller stones ; in the later, the stones are smoothed at 
one end and on the sides — but not squared — and fitted 
exactly each to each, so that the external face of the wall 
presents a smooth, compact mass of irregular polygons. 1 
The first is the work of Kratos and Bia, the second shows 
the hand of Prometheus. Prometheus has been concerned 
also in the plan of the fortifications. The weak point of 
the position is towards the west. Here accordingly there 
is an inner and an outer line of wall, and the gate, more- 
over, is recessed, so that the assailant had a wall on each 
side. The two walls, by the way, which lead up to the 
gate are not quite parallel, as is generally stated. The 
stone above, containing the famous bas-relief, is not ' green 
basalt/ but grey limestone ; whether it has been a triangle 
or an irregular pentagon in shape, as the top is broken off, 
must remain doubtful. Above the door of the c Treasury 
of Atreus ' is a triangular space, which has very likely 
been filled with a similar stone ; on the other hand, over 
the little postern in the north-west side of the wall, there 

1 Euripides {Hercules Furens, 944), speaking of these very walls of 
Mycense, calls them 

Ku»cAco7r<]oi/ fia6pa 
(poiviKi Kavovi Kai tvkois f]p/J.oafitva, 

from which we see that not rudeness merely, but massiveness and an- 
tiquity, were the characteristics of the works which the Greeks of that 
date attributed to the Cyclopes. Similar in the poet's fancy were the 
walls of Troy, which he calls (Troades, 814) Kavovtov rvKia/j-ara <i>oi/3ov ,- 
and such, doubtless, were the walls of the Megarian Acropolis before 
mentioned, which were also attributed to Apollo, and which, it may 
be, suggested to Euripides the description of the wall of Troy. 


are two stones which seem to have been pentagonal. As 
over the postern, so in all probability over the great gate, 
there were two sculptured stones of the same size and 
shape, one facing inwards, corresponding to that which 
remains towards the outside. From Pausanias's words 
one would infer that there were more than a pair of lions 
over the gate. In his time perhaps the interior stone 
was still extant. The unhesitating way in which he calls 
them lions, indicates that the figures had their heads then. 
From the parts which now remain they might be called 
panthers or dogs, anything with paws, being designed with 
a truly heraldic contempt for the specific distinctions of 
natural history. They are, indeed, exactly like c supporters* 
ramping on either side of a kind of pedestal, the top of 
w r hich is unfortunately broken. There are many conjec- 
tures as to what it has been ; at present it looks more 
like a music-stool than anything else. It is evident 
that Pausanias attached no importance to the symbol, 
whether he knew or not what it was intended to re- 

In the absence of any ancient authority, having no 
other example of imitative art of the period, and being 
utterly ignorant of the religion and polity of the people 
who set up the stone, of which the upper and most signifi- 
cant part is gone, we shall do well to abstain from con- 
jectures, which in such a case are as aimless as the arrows 
which children shoot into the air. Colonel Mure's notion 
that it is the symbol of Apollo Aguieus may be true or it 
may not; but that the scene of the Agamemnon is laid 
before this gate, and that the bas-relief above is directly 


addressed in the words "AwoXXov ayvtar* is a theory quite 
inadmissible. The scene of the Agamemnon is laid not 
before the gate of the city, but before the gate of the 
palace, and the Aguieus here invoked is such a symbol as 
every householder in Athens set up before his own door. 2 
The mention of the Agamemnon reminds me of somebody 
else's theory, that iEschylus meant the scene to be laid at 
Argos, not Myceiue, because the summit of Arachne, the 
last link in the fiery beacon-chain, is visible from the 
former, but not from the latter city. Such rigorous 
exactness, I am convinced, is quite alien from the spirit of 
iEschylus, and of all the old poets. iEschylus and every 
one of his audience saw daily the top of Arachne towering 
pre-eminent among the Argive hills. No one's sense of 
probability would be shocked by the natural supposition 
that it could be seen from Mycenae, which lay almost at 
its feet. We must not fetter the free mind of the ancient 
poets by such matter-of-fact laws, nor, as readers, expect 
them to observe restrictions which their auditors did not 
impose. Those who saw no absurdity in the arrival of 
Agamemnon only half-an-hour after his telegraphic mes- 
sage, were not likely to cavil on a minute point as to the 
topography of a foreign country. On the other hand, I do 
not venture to affirm that iEschylus laid the scene of his 
play not at Argos, but at Mycense. The scene is ' before 
the palace of the Atreidse,' and I question whether he 

1 JEsch. Agamemnon — 

AttoWov, AttoWov, ayviar ' , diroWcov e/xoy. 

d 7T0i ttot riyayes fJ.e ; irpos Troiav (rreyqv ; 
Observe, Cassandra here says, o-rtyrjv, not irokiv. 
2 Aristoph. T/iesm. 4S9. 


wasted a second thought upou its site. There is not in 
all the play the faintest allusion to the scenery of the 
Argive plain, or the relative position of its cities. yEschylus 
had evidently been a diligent reader or hearer of Homer 
— his characters, language, and allusions prove this — 
insomuch that a saying was attributed to him, 'that his 
dramas were but fragments from the great Homeric 
banquet/ He could not, therefore, have been ignorant 
that Mycenae was constantly spoken of by Homer as the 
city and abode of the Atreidse; and yet throughout the 
play there is no mention of Mycenae. Argos occurs 
several times in the sense of the country, and Argeioi for 
the people. Homer uses ' Argos ' with four different limi- 
tations ; first, as the city of Diomed; 1 second, as the king- 
dom of Agamemnon; 2 third, as comprising also the kingdom 
of Menelaus; 3 and fourth, as a generic name for all Greece. 4 
Now, in the days of the Attic dramatists, the term 
Argos was by universal usage in common life applied only 
to the city ; hence arose doubtless a certain confusion in 
the popular mind in regard of the Homeric 'Argos/ and 
a disposition to credit the city with all that had been 
attributed to Argos in the wider meanings. And no 
doubt the citizens of Argos, as they transported the 
people of Mycenae and incorporated them with their own 
body, were anxious also to appropriate their ancient 
legends and heroic fame. The Agamemnon was repre- 
sented ten years after this final destruction of the ancient 
capital of the Atreidse. The fact that the poet does not 

1 Iliad, ii. 559. 2 lb. i. 30. 3 Odyss. xv. 80. 

4 Iliad, ix. 246. 


mention the city, seems to indicate that its fate excited 
little notice or sympathy in contemporary Greece. 

If the Argive topography of xEschylus is thus indefinite 
and negative, that of Sophocles is elaborately wrong. In 
the opening scene of the Electra, the ' Psedagogue/ 
addressing Orestes, says : ' Here is the ancient Argos you 
were longing for, and this the Lycean agora of the wolf- 
slaying god ' (to wit, the market-place of the town of 
Argos) ; ' and this on the left is the renowned temple of 
Hera, and, at the place we are come to, believe that you 
have before your eyes Mycense, rich in gold, and here the 
blood-stained house of the Pelopidse.' No one reading 
this description would infer that Argos was between five 
and six miles distant, and the Herseum nearly two. The 
truth was that neither Sophocles nor his f Psedagogue ' 
thought of administering a lecture on topography under 
the guise of a dramatic entertainment — as Milton or Ben 
Jonson might have done; so far from it, he held the 
entertainment to be all in all, and made topography and 
everything else give way to it. He wanted to produce an 
effect by bringing Argos, My cense, and the Herseum within 
the compass of a single coup d'oeil, and I warrant that 
not one of the spectators was pedantic enough to quarrel 
with him for it. He would not have taken similar liberties 
with the neighbourhood of Athens — on the contrary, in 
the (Edipus at Colonus he is rigorously exact, because 
the audience were too familiar with the scene not to be 
shocked at any departure from fact j and in that case the 
most powerful effect was to be obtained by adhering to it. 
I remember to have read a play of M. Victor Hugo's, 
called, I think, Marie Tudor, where the scene opens with 
the following stage direction : ( Palais de Richmond : 


dans le fond k gauche l'Eglise de Westminster, k droite la 
Tour de Londres.' Not one of the audience would be 
shocked by this impossible compression, and therefore the 
poet was quite justified in annihilating space to make a 
thousand people happy. If either play would have gained 
a tittle by the change, M. Victor Hugo would not have 
hesitated a moment to make the Abbey and the Tower 
change places, nor Sophocles to transfer the Temple of 
Hera from the left hand to the right. But France is the 
only country which in these days has a living drama, and 
whose poetry is not cramped by pedantry. 

To resume the description of Pausanias : ' In the ruins 
of Mycense there is a fountain called Perseia, and under- 
ground buildings of Atreus and his children, where they 
kept their treasures/ He goes on to say that there were 
also tombs of Agamemnon and his murdered companions, 
Clytemnestra and /Egisthus being buried at some little 
distance from the wall, not inside, like the others. There 
remain now no fountain 1 and no tombs ; but the well-known 
' Treasury of Atreus' lies on the southern side of the ridge, 
and there are traces of at least three similar but smaller 
buildings on the other side. All these are outside the 
wall, whereas from the description of Pausanias one would 
have inferred that they were within it. If they were 
treasuries, it seems incredible that they should not have 
been within the wall. The hypothesis of an outer wall 
creates a new difficulty. It is obvious that Pausanias means 
by { the peribolus,' the extant circuit of the Acropolis. 
I infer, too, from a passage in the history of Thucydides, 

1 Unless we may identify the Perseia with a spring on the opposite 
side of the city, beyond the walls. 


who probably saw the city within fifty years of its capture 
by the Argives (468 B.C.), that there were no walls in his 
time, except those we now see. ' The fact that Mycense 
was a little place, or any other polisma of those days which 
now appears insignificant, would afford no certain ground 
for disbelieving that the armament [sent to Troy] was as 
large as it is stated by the poets and the received tradition ' 
(b. i. c. 10). If the space on the lower ridge, supposed by 
Colonel Leake to have been occupied by the main part of 
the city, had been surrounded by walls, the words of the 
historian could not have been applicable. The size of the 
city would have been by no means so contemptible. 
Colonel Leake believed that he had found traces of a wall 
along the crest of the ridge. I differ on such a point 
with great hesitation from so eminent an authority ; but 
neither I nor my companions were able to see anything 
else along the ridge but the limestone rock cropping out, 
and a few stones which have served in recent times to 
separate the tenements of a noAV-deserted hamlet. Sup- 
posing that there were a wall along this crest, we should 
not get rid of our dilemma. Either the ' Treasury of 
Atreus/ or those of ' his children/ would be outside the 
wall. In the midst of these perplexities it is hard to 
pick one's way to a reasonable hypothesis. On the whole 
I incline to the belief that the Avail now remaining was 
the wall which bounded the ' little place ' of Thucydides, 
the same which Pausanias mentions as the ' peribolus,' 
and that no Avail embracing a wider circuit ever existed. 
If there be — though I could not see them — any remains, 
Cyclopean or Hellenic, on the lower ridge outside, they 
are the remains of some detached fort, or other outwork, 


not part of a city wall. The little community trans- 
planted by the Argives in b.c. 468 to Argos — just as the 
inhabitants of Alba were transplanted to Rome — consisted 
probably of a few hundred families, some living in the 
city, some dispersed over the adjacent country, but all 
able to find a refuge within its walls in time of danger. 

The ' city ' of the heroic ages was as different from the 
' city ' of later times, as Kenil worth is from Birmingham, 
or Carcassonne from Bordeaux. Thucydides warns his 
readers, who were familiar with the busy, crowded, 
populous cities of his own time, not hastily to infer that 
the force of the ancients was small in proportion to the 
remains of their cities. Had he developed his thought 
he would have gone on to say that, in the infancy of 
commerce and manufacture the population was scattered 
over the country, not collected into towns. The city 
contained the castle of their liege lord and the houses 
of his immediate dependents and the temples of their 
patron gods. Hither they went at stated festivals to 
worship, to plead for justice, to sell the produce of their 
fields. Hither also they fled for refuge, with their flocks 
and herds, in time of need. For, small as is the circuit 
of the walls, a considerable portion of the space within 
was left vacant, and served, no doubt, for the purpose 
just mentioned. How do we know r this ? Simply by the 
fact that the rock which comes to the surface is as rough 
as nature left it, and has never been smoothed so as to 
serve for the foundation of a human dwelling. The same 
remark will apply to the remains of all the oldest cities in 
Greece — Tiryns, Crissa, Orchomenos, &c. Of course it 
would have been ill living for a multitude of cows and 


sheep, so cribbed and confined, if the durance had lasted 
long; but the ordinary danger was, we may infer, such a 
raid or foray as that of Nestor on his neighbours of Elis. 1 
Besides Mycenae, there were Tiryns, Larissa, Mideia, the 
citadel of Palamedes, the sanctuary of Hera, and perhaps 
other similar strongholds available in those days for the 
dwellers in the Argive plain, so that Mycenae would amply 
suffice for the uses to which a city was then applied. 
When we talk about ' the imperial capital of Agamemnon/ 
we deceive ourselves with the associations derived from 
later times. Even if we take the Iliad for veritable history, 
the King of Mycenae was only the feudal superior or liege 
lord of other chieftains, who ruled their respective fiefs in 
Argolis and the adjacent islands, like a Villehardouin or 
a De la Roche in the thirteenth century, and elected 
to the supreme command over similar potentates for an 
especial occasion, as the British elected Cassibelaunus. 
We must not compare the monarchy of Agamemnon with 
the monarchies of other regions and other times, we must 
not expect to find in Mycenae ruins commensurate in 
extent with those of Nineveh or Rome, and here, as else- 
where in Greece, we must learn not to be surprised that 
a famous name which our imagination, deluded by the 
genius of ancient poets and the influence of modern asso- 
ciations, has bestowed on some great and gorgeous ideal, 
belongs in reality to a little nest on a ledge of barren rock. 
There remains still a difficulty to be met. How is it 
that ' the treasuries ' were outside the walls ? As I have 
said before, this difficulty is not solved by adopting Colonel 

1 Homer, Iliad, xi. 670, 399. 


Leake's 'ancient wall/ for some of ' the treasuries ' are on 
one side and some on the other. Nor is it solved by- 
admitting the existence of a wider fortification embracing 
them all ; for then we may ask, why were not the 
treasuries within the wall of the citadel, in the safest pos- 
sible place? Not being there, I hold that they are not 
treasuries at all. As this assertion contradicts a theory 
which has hitherto commanded, so far as I know, universal 
assent, I am bound to justify it by giving my reasons at 
length. On what, then, does the common opinion rest? 
On the statement of Pausanias, and the acquiescence of 
modern travellers. Colonel Leake writes : ' As to their 
having been the treasuries of the Atreidse, it was at least a 
tradition which had descended to Pausanias in an unbroken 
series ; and as there is no reason to doubt that they were 
built for the purpose which the Greek name implies, it is 
no more than consistent with the history of My cense to 
believe that the largest, or that which is nearly complete, 
was the treasury of Atreus himself; for Agamemnon 
having been much engaged in war, and having passed a 
great part of his reign abroad, was much less likely to 
have accomplished such a structure/ ' 

Now, in the first place, how do we know that ' the 
tradition had descended to Pausanias in an unbroken 
series?' They were the work of a people quite distinct 
from the Greeks of historical times, in modes of life, in 
polity, art, and civilisation; of a people whose very 
memory had been swept away by the Dorian invasion. 
They were buildings of a fashion to which Hellenic works 

1 Morea, ch. xx. 


afforded no parallel (for ' the circular buildings called 
Tholoi, the Philippeium of Olympia, the Odeium of 
Sparta/ &c, with which Colonel Leake, in another place, 
compares ' the treasuries/ were all above ground) ; and 
they had probably been rifled of their contents, whatever 
they were, nearly a thousand years before Pausanias's 
time. How can we vouch for ' the unbroken series of 
tradition/ in the absence of any allusion by an earlier 
author ? I believe that the name rests on no tradi- 
tion, but solely on the guess of ignorant peasants, 
who are always dreaming of buried treasures. And 
treasuries at Mycense would of course be called the 
treasuries of the Atreidse. As well might we claim 
the authority of tradition for their modern name, ' the 
ovens.' They are quite as likely to have baked the bread 
of those voracious heroes, as to have kept their wealth. 
The only building of the kind, so far as we know, about 
which ' ancient tradition ' may be appealed to, was the 
brazen chamber at Argos. Pausanias says, ' There is a 
subterraneous building, and on it was the brazen chamber 
which Acrisius once made for the safe keeping of his 
daughter, but Perilaus pulled it down when tyrant of 
Argos' (ii. 23, 7). The meaning of this probably is that 
Perilaus stripped off the brass or bronze which coated the 
roof, as in the treasury at Mycense. Now Pausanias 
accepts this story about Danae without the slightest 
question or doubt ; but in this case the ' ancient tradition' 
is too contrary to modern common sense to be received. 
It is not unlikely that ' the chambers of the daughters of 
Proetus,' which Pausanias mentions as being near Tiryns, 
may have been similar places, and the Argive legend may 


have had, mutatis mutandis, its counterpart there. If this 
be so, the number of these edifices militates against the 
hypothesis that they were treasuries. The chambers of 
the daughters of Prcetus were evidently undefended by 
walls. 1 They were probably on the plain, not very 
far from the southern gate. The reason given for 
assigning the larger treasury to Atreus and a smaller 
one to Agamemnon, reminds one of the wise sage 
who cut in his door a large hole for his cat and a small 
one for his kitten. If Agamemnon were a poorer or 
busier man, why could he not keep his treasures in the 
building which had served his father? 

But, seriously, if these are not treasuries, what are they? 
I answer, tombs. If they were merely store-houses, why 
such costly and elaborate ornament ? Men care that their 
treasures should be securely, not splendidly lodged. On the 
other hand, they spare no cost in the honours paid to the 
dead. And if it be a part of their creed that departed spirits 
have power over the living for good or for evil, fear conspires 
with love and sorrow to do them honour, and to pay them 
worship. Thus we find that nations the most diverse in 
character, the most widely removed in age and place, 
lavish the best gifts they have upon the tombs of their 
princes and fathers. The wealthy bestow their most 
precious wealth, the skilful their most cunning skill, and 
the rude people, that have neither wealth nor skill, bestow 
the labour of strong and willing hands. Pyramid and 
cromlech, tumulus and cairn, the rock-tombs of Egypt, 
Syria, and Etruria, the mausoleums of Halicarnassus and 

1 Paus. ii. 25. 


Rome, the gorgeous vaults of St. Denis and the Escorial, 
are all evidences of the same feeling which lies deep at 
the root of our common humanity. This, I think, suggests 
the only true purpose of these costly underground buildings 
"without the walls of Mycense. Of the people who built 
them we know nothing. Is it not more reasonable to 
suppose that they manifested in this, their own fashion, a 
feeling which they must have shared with all mankind, 
than to attribute to them capricious prodigality in wasting 
decoration upon a building of no sanctity, where it could 
not be seen, and gross imprudence in storing their wealth 
where it could not be defended ? 

One word more on a point of detail. I do not think 
that the triangular space above the door was intended for 
a window. If it were, it would have singularly facilitated 
the entrance of a thief into ' the treasury.' It was probably 
filled with two parallel stones with sculptures in relief, like 
those over the Gate of Lions. In the British Museum there 
are some fragments of sculpture which once decorated the 
doorposts of the c treasury.' The material is a red por- 
phyritic stone ; the pattern an arabesque of the simplest 
kind, in low relief, and of rude workmanship, more like 
the ornaments on a Byzantine or Lombard church than 
anything one finds in a Greek temple. The Greeks, 
moreover, in their best days, never employed coloured 
marbles, although they were to be had for the hewing 
almost at the gates of Athens and Sparta. Hymettus 
furnished to the Romans much-prized rafters (trabes 
Hymettiee) with pale blue veins, and Taygetus blocks of 
serpentine. Hellenic architecture has no resemblance to, 
and cannot be a development of, that of ancient Mycense. 


This complete disruption of tradition seems to indicate a 
greater divergence in race, a more complete conquest and 
extermination, than the legends about the successive 
domination of Perseidae, Pelopidse, and Heracleidse would 
lead us to infer. Those who inhabited Mycenae in historic 
times were probably in no way lineally descended from 
those who built the walls and subterranean chambers of 
their city, and had only the right of cuckoos to their nest. 

' Fifteen stades distant from Mycenee, on the left hand, 
is the Herseum/ So Pausanias. A stade being two 
hundred and two yards, the distance is four hundred and 
ninety yards short of two miles. It is even less from the 
village of Kharvata ; but so rough and stony is the track, 
that we were fifty minutes in riding to the spot. The 
site of the Heraeum, which had been sought for in vain 
by Colonel Leake, was found by General Gordon when 
looking for quails. The colonel did not beat quite high 
enough upon the hill-side, being misled by Strabo, who 
gives the distance from My cense to Argos as fifty stades, 
the distance from Myceuge to the Hereeum ten, that from 
the Hereeum to Argos forty, and naturally inferring that 
the temple could not be so far from the direct road 
between the two cities. Herodotus says (b. i. c. 31) that 
the Herseum was forty-five stades from Argos. Herodotus 
and Pausanias are right in each statement, Strabo wrong 
in both. In all questions of topography the two former 
are to be trusted much more implicitly than the latter, 
who was a compiler, not an observer. 

Pausanias proceeds : ' Along the road from My cense 
runs a water called Eleutherion, and the women who are 
appointed to the secret ministrations about the temple and 


at the sacrifices use it for purifications. The temple 
itself is in the lower part of what is called Eubcea. For 
they give this mountain the name of Eubcea, saying that 
the river Asterion had three daughters, Euboea, Prosymna, 
and Acraia, and they were Hera's nurses. And from 
Acraia they call the mountain which faces the temple, 
from Euboea all that lies about the temple, and Prosymna 
the tract below the Heneum. The said Asterion, flowing 
below the Herseum, falls into a chasm and disappears. ; 

I could not identify Eleutherion. The streams run not 
along, but across the road, and must in their general 
direction always have been the same. The Asterion was 
doubtless the stream which has cloven a deep gully for 
itself, and which we cross immediately before arriving at 
the temple. I looked in vain, however, for the chasm. 

What Pausanias says about the three daughters of 
Asterion is an illustration of the way in which he, in 
common with many Greek writers, overlooked the most 
obvious etymologies. Acraia clearly means the top part 
of the mountain, and Eubcea the middle, adapted to pasture 
grounds. What Prosymna may be is not so clear. 
Asterion must keep his youngest daughter for the present. 

All the district comprehended under these three names 
was probably destined for the support of the temple and 
its ministers. On the hill at Argos, full in view of this 
mountain, was a temple of Hera Acraia. Both Hera and 
Zeus were supposed to have an especial favour for high 
places. There was on the Aero-Corinth a temple of Hera 
Bounaia; a title, as I need hardly say, derived from 
fiovvog, ' hill/ not from ' Bounos, son of Hermes/ as 
Pausanias hath it. I find, from another passage in the 


same writer (ii. 37, 2), that Prosymna was one of the titles 
under which Demeter was worshipped by the Argives. I 
conclude, therefore, that it was some provincial name for 
1 arable land/ as the lowest part of the mountain is. There 
is perhaps no trade or art, besides agriculture, which so 
abounds in local and provincial terms not generally under- 
stood. Farmers and labourers travel less out of their own 
neighbourhood and their own class than any other people. 

Now that the site of the Herseurn has been discovered, 
one is surprised that it should have remained so long un- 
known. The masonry is on such a scale that I discerned 
it with the naked eye from Argos. The position has been 
selected not merely as being conspicuous, but as being 
secure also. The ancient Heraeum was a fortress as well as 
a temple. The position combining natural strength with a 
copious water-supply so far resembles that of Mycenae, but 
differs from it inasmuch as it stands out on a projecting 
spur, instead of nestling in a recess of the mountain chain. 
The declivity, which is almost precipitous on the south 
side, slopes on the other sufficiently to be formed by art 
into a series of terraces, each supported by masonry. 
Some of this masonry is of the most regular Hellenic 
kind ; in another part every third course consists of 
smaller stones. 

Recent excavations — still in progress when we were 
there — have laid bare part of the foundations of the 
temple, so as to leave no doubt as to its exact site, but 
bringing nothing to light by which the dimensions could 
be estimated with anything like certainty. The complete 
disappearance of the building at so great a distance from 
any town, seems to prove that its materials were con- 

g 2 


vertible into lime. If it bad been built of marble, Pau- 
sanias would probably have said so ; moreover, in another 
place (viii. 41) he says that no temple in the Peloponnese, 
except that of Tegea, surpassed in beauty of material that 
at Bassse, which we know from its remains to have been 
built of limestone. The Hereeum was therefore, in all 
probability, of limestone too, always excepting the decora- 
tive sculpture in the frieze and pediments. Immediately 
in front were a flight of steps, and perhaps propylsea, 
fronting the road to Argos, and from which a path to the 
right led to a lower terrace, intended probably for the 
abode of the servants of the temple. After describing 
the various statues which filled the pediments, or stood 
before the entrance in the pronaos and in the temple 
itself, Pausanias says : ' Above this temple are the founda- 
tions of the former temple, and whatever else the fire had 
left. It was burnt down by the lamp setting fire to the 
garland ; Chryseis, the priestess of Hera (whose duty it 
was to watch), having been overpowered with sleep. 
Chryseis fled to Tegea and took refuge iu the sanctuary 
of Athena Alea; and the Argives, notwithstanding the 
magnitude of the calamity, did not pull down the statue 
of Chiyseis, but it stands to this very day in front of the 
burnt temple/ 1 

Immediately above the site of the temple just described 
is a polygonal wall supporting the highest terrace of all ; 
on which, no doubt, the more ancient temple stood, though 
not a vestige now remains. Some religious scruple seems 

Paus. ii. 17, 7. Thucydides (iv. 133) mentions Phlius as the 
place where Chiyseis took refuge. 


to have prevented the Argives from meddling with the 
relics of the first temple. It was originally built on the 
lonely hill- side, perhaps as a common holy place for all 
the inhabitants of the Argive plain, and a peculiar sanctity 
attached to it on account of its immemorial antiquity. 
The Argives, and probably the other communities, so long 
as they retained their independence, dated the public acts 
according to the year of the Priestess of Hera. Thucy- 
dides, evidently expecting that his work would be known 
and read in the Peloponnese, gives the date of the com- 
mencement of the war, according to the Argive calendar, 
1 when Chryseis was in the forty-eighth year of her priest- 
hood/ l The accident to the old temple occurred eight 
years and a half afterwards. 2 Another priestess, whose 
name Thucydides carefully records, was appointed instead 
of the aged and somnolent Chryseis. 

The excavations undertaken by the government had 
been much talked of, and their results vaunted even in 
the English papers. We were very much disappointed 
with what we saw collected at Argos. Some shelves in 
a little room contained the whole — a few small fragments. 
There was one beautiful female head with the hair in a 
band and gathered in a knot behind, and also some feet and 
hands of marble. There was a fragment of a frieze with 
the honeysuckle ornament painted pale yellow on a black 
ground, with red in the centre. There was also a lion's 
head with open mouth, which must have been a gurgoyle, 
and a piece of moulding of which the ornament repre- 
sented a buckle and tongue. I do not know the archi- 

1 Thuc. b. ii. 2. 2 lb. b. iv. 133. 


tectural name. There was also a fragment of inscription 
in apparently ancient letters, POSAYAA EIIOIKI, which 
I give here for the benefit of those persons to whom an 
inscription is interesting in inverse proportion to its com- 

A ride of somewhat more than an hour over a com- 
paratively smooth road brings us to the walled (or rather 
wally) ' Tiryns/ 1 No one can doubt the especial propriety 
of the epithet in this case. As the walls were in Homer's 
time, as they were in Pausanias's time, so they remain 
substantially now, and seem destined to last as long as 
time itself — ' A work of Cyclopes, made of unhewn stones, 
each stone of such magnitude that the smallest of them 
could not be so much as stirred by a yoke of mules. 
Small stones have been fitted in at some remote time, so 
that each serves as nearly as may be to join the large 
ones/ 2 

The hill on which Tiryns stands, and which it com- 
pletely occupies, is an isolated eminence — a natural 
tumulus in the plain, from twenty to fifty feet high, 
about three hundred yards long by one hundred broad. 
The southern and higher half is separated from the 
northern by a wall. The communication was through a 
long passage to the west, with doorway, in the lintel of 
which a huge hole for a bolt still remains. This wall 
and doorway was probably what passed for the House of 
Prcetus. The northern part had two entrances ; a postern 
with two stones meeting in an acute angle at top, and on the 

Homer, II. ii. 559 — Tipvvdd re Teixiofcraav. 
2 Paus. ii. 25, 7. 


opposite side a gate with an inclined plane outside, so as to 
expose the right or unshielded side of an assailant. There 
was also a separate entrance by a still wider gate to the 
southern part. The walls to right and left were pierced by 
galleries, the purpose of which is not obvious, owing to the 
ruined state of the great gateway. The walls are in places 
twenty -four feet thick, and Colonel Leake found the dimen- 
sions of one stone to be ten feet six inches by three feet 
nine inches by three feet six inches. To his precise and 
elaborate description I beg to refer those who feel sufficient 
interest in the subject. There is only one point in it 
which our observation could not verify. In the eastern 
wall by the southern gate we could only find one passage. 
As at Mycenae, there is not a vestige of any wall out- 
side; and I do not believe that any such ever existed. 
The name Licymna was probably given to the southern 
portion on the upper level, the strongest part, and capable 
of separate defence, the citadel proper of Tiryns. 

The remark of Colonel Leake that, 'after the return of 
the Heracleidae, Mycenae, Tiryns, &c, were reduced to the 
condition of dependent towns or castles/ appears to me 
not to be borne out by such fragments of their history as 
we can refer to. That Mycenae and Tiryns sent four 
hundred men as a contingent to the force of Leonidas 
when Argos stood aloof, shows that at that time they 
were actually, as well as nominally, independent. It 
would be the natural policy of Sparta to support these 
weaker communities against the threatening power of 
their neighbours, and they in return sympathized with 
their foreign patron, exactly as Scotland clung to France 
as the natural enemy of her own too preponderant 


neighbour and kinswoman England. It was not probably 
jealousy of the glory these little states had acquired by 
their share in the Persian war, but the obvious promptings 
of self-interest which moved the Argives twelve years 
afterwards to transplant the inhabitants. They had, 
doubtless, long been waiting for a fair opportunity. 

It may be worth while to notice a slight discrepancy 
in Pausanias's account of Tiryns. In one place (ii. 16, 2) 
he says that indications of Prcetus's dwelling are still left 
in Tiryns; in another place (ii. 25, 7), that only the wall 
of the city remains. The legend that Prcetus had pos- 
session of the Herseum implies that, till the time of their 
suppression, the Tirynthians had, or claimed, a kind of 
precedence in the administration or the worship of that 

Close to Tiryns, about the place where I suppose 
the chambers of Prcetus's daughters to have been, is a 
house with outbuildings and pleasant garden of orange 
and lemon-trees, looking, however, somewhat forlorn and 
neglected. This is an agricultural college founded by 
Capo d'Istrias; but, like constitutional government and 
other exotics imported from Western Europe, it has not 
thriven. It ought to thrive here if anywhere, for the 
plain is one of the most fertile in Greece. 

We reached Argos, riding along a smooth road {apt um 
equis) between fields of cotton and tobacco, and crossing 
the dry beds of two streams, the Inachus and Charadrus, 
in an hour and a quarter. In other parts of the plain 
towards the sea are rice-grounds. Now, cotton and rice 
will only grow in very moist soils. How do we account 
for this moist and even marshy plain having the epithet 


of polydipsion, ' thirsty V From this fact, that, the soil 
being mostly sand and gravel, the water, so long as there 
is any fall, percolates through. Thus while the flat 
ground, lying scarcely above the sea-level, is saturated 
with moisture, all the upper slopes, constituting by far the 
greater part of the so-called plain of Argos, are dry. The 
lower plain may be called ' thirsty ' for the opposite reason, 
not because it wants, but because it gets so much to drink. 
At Argos we were lodged in a clean and comfortable 
house, which contrasted agreeably with the hovel we had 
left at Kharvata. 



rPHE town of Argos presented a busy scene on the 
-*- morning of Saturday, the 19th of April. It was a 
rnarket-day, and the streets were crowded with wares and 
vendors. Country people had brought in baskets filled 
with onions, leeks, chicory, water-cresses, and other 
Lenten fare; and the townspeople tempted them in return 
with a display of wearing-apparel, from fez-cap to slipper, 
with calicoes (probably) from Manchester, knives (possibly) 
from Sheffield, and white umbrellas, at two drachmas 
a-piece, also warranted Euglish manufacture. The town 
is to all appearance the most genuinely prosperous of any 
town in Greece. The houses are all built in a rough-and- 
ready fashion, with neither dressed stones, nor rough-cast, 
nor stucco — for use and not for show. One might sup- 
pose, too, that the settlers had been so busy building 
roofs for their heads that they had had no time to provide 
the luxuries of paving and draining. And this is about 
the truth. The ancient name of Argos is usurped by an 
upstart younger than many a Brownville or Smithville in 
the United States. "We reached at length a large open 
space, which our exegetes, in default of ancient legend, 
made the scene of a modem cock-and-bull story. Here, he 
said, the French, when they occupied Argos, massacred I 


know not how many children as they were coming from 
school. This is not the only instance which has led me 
to conclude that the modern Greeks are at least as 
< daring in history ' as their brave ancestors. In this 
space are some Roman ruins incapable of identification- 
being perhaps remains of buildings subsequent to the 
time of Pausanias-and not far off the only important 
relic of ancient Argos, the rock-hewn seats which formed 
the centre of the theatre. < Its two ends were formed of 
large masses of rude stones and mortar, faced with regular 
masonry : these are now mere shapeless heaps of rubbish. 
The excavated part of the theatre preserves the remains 
of sixty-seven rows of seats, in three divisions, separated 
by diazomata: in the upper division are nineteen rows, in 
the middle sixteen, and in the lower thirty-two, and 
there may perhaps be some more at the bottom concealed 

under the earth." 

I counted thirty-five seats in the lowest division, 
sixteen in the middle, and eighteen in the uppermost, 
making sixty-nine in all. The < rectilinear rows of seats 
excavated in the rock contiguous to the theatre > are now 
covered up and ploughed over. I observed afterwards, 
close to the theatre at Chseronea, seats similar to those 
which Colonel Leake saw here. I doubt whether they 
formed a sort of lesche for loungers in the intervals of 
the entertainment, like the foyer of a modern theatre, or 
whether they were anything more than steps facilitating 
access to and egress from the upper tiers. 

A steep and stony path leads from hence to the 

1 Leake, vol. ii. p. 39^- 


summit crowned by the great castle of Argos ; a strong- 
hold, which, after being jealously guarded by all the 
tyrants of the land, from Acrisius downwards, has since 
the restoration of freedom been abandoned to solitude 
and decay. 

You enter by a small court built in rude courses 
of alternate brick and stone, as I suppose, of Byzantine 
structure; and through this you pass into the main court, 
an irregular polygon, defended at each angle with towers. 
The wall is of immense thickness. There is a broad 
path all round along the battlements, accessible by flights 
of steps at intervals. It contains, among other ruins, a 
small church with an apse. This court is obviously of 
post-Byzantine construction, for I observed marble crosses 
in low relief, and other ornaments which had belonged to 
a Greek church, built into the walls. It is no doubt the 
work of the Frank lords of the Morea. The two courts 
occupy the summit of the hill, and are surrounded on 
three sides by a larger enclosure, on a level, considerably 
lower, also defended by a strong wall, with towers at 
intervals. The towers are for the most part square. I 
observed, however, three round towers, and one of a 
trapezium shape. In the outer court are several cisterns. 
In the walls, on the north and north-west sides, I saw 
considerable masses of Cyclopean masonry of the second 
order, and Colonel Leake saw some of the first order also. 
Hellenic work appears at intervals; and in one place I 
noticed — where a large mass has been overturned and up- 
rooted by gunpowder — the alternate layers of flat bricks 
and cement showed the handiwork of the Roman 
legionary. The present structure, mainly Frank, but 


partly Byzantine, has been kept in repair by Venetians 
and Turks. Few places have had so continuous a history 
so legibly written in their walls. They comprise within 
their circuit a space much larger than do the walls of 
Tiryns, and scarcely less than those of Mycense. They 
are probably coincident in the main with the limits of the 
ancient city of heroic times, having, like Tiryns, its 
citadel on the higher platform, where the inner court or 
keep of the present fortress now stands. But its fortunes 
have been different. While Tiryns and Mycense never 
developed beyond their ancient limits, and have continued 
desert since they were dismantled, nearly two thousand 
years ago, the Larissa of Argos has been in constant 
occupation. The ptoliethron of the Achaean monarchs 
became the Acropolis of a Hellenic city, a fortress under 
the Roman and Byzantine empires, and, in the Middle 
Ages, as ' the whirligig of Time wrought his revenges/ it 
became a feudal castle of Frank lords ; thus reverting to 
a purpose singularly resembling that for which ' the 
Cyclopes ' built it. \Yhen the French invaded the 
Morea, in 1205, it was in possession of Leon Sguros, a 
Greek, who held Nauplia and Corinth also, in the name 
of the emperor. In the absence of its lord, who was 
shut up in Aero-Corinth, the town was taken at the first 
assault by Guilliame de Champlitte, ' pour ce que il 
estoit en plain/ says the French Chronicle (p. 37) ; but 
the castle was not taken till 1248, when it was given by 
Yillehardouin to his ally Guillaume de la Roche, lord of 
Athens, ' together with the fair castle of Naples/ i. e. 
Nauplia. In the following century it came into the 
possession of the family of Enghien. Speedily on the 


final expulsion of the French, followed the extinction of 
the Greek rule; and since that time the fortress has been, 
like all others, held alternately by Venetians and Turks 
— masters not equally oppressive, but equally detested, 
because there are no degrees in the hatred wherewith a 
Greek hates his masters. 

Now that freedom and security have again permitted 
the free development of natural advantages, a new Argos 
is rising on the ancient site at the base. The natural 
advantages which Argos possesses are obvious. Its 
position is more commodious than the secluded Mycense, 
more healthy than the low-lying Tiryns; and it commands 
a more abundant supply of water, by springs and aque- 
ducts, than either. Their Cephissus, which Poseidon 
smote in his wrath, was still supposed to run underground 
and feed the wells of the city. Its military advan- 
tages are no less apparent. It stood at the junction, 
or, so to speak, the ganglion of the various roads to 
Laconia and Arcadia ; where, in the historic times of 
Argos, dwelt her most formidable foes and most efficient 
allies. Laconian invasion was what they had most to 
fear, and no other position could so well command and 
protect their plain. 1 With these, doubtless, conspired 
other causes more subtle and more complex. The springs 
of national prosperity lie deep. We see some nations 
flourishing with all kinds of natural obstacles, others 

When the better days of Sparta were over, Argos became most 
formidable as an aggressive post, a point d'appui for an invading 
army. Cleomenes regarded its occupation as of the utmost im- 
portance — <po^r]6f\s fJ-T] rov Apyovs of ttoXc/jioi Kparrja-avres, Ka\ tus 
7rap6&ovs aTTOKkeiaavTfs, avro\ irop6<i>(Tiv dSews ttjv AaicooviKrjv, k.t.A. — 
Plutarch. Cleomenes, c. 21. 


decaying in spite of manifold natural advantages. Again, 
the spirit and vigour of a people fail and die without any 
change in external circumstances adequate to explain the 
fact. We use a trite simile, but allege no reason, when 
we compare the life of a nation to the life of a man, or 
when we talk about the ebb and flow of the tide of a 
nation's prosperity. 

The view from the walls of the Larissa is magnificent. 
At our feet on the slope lies the town, with its fringe of 
gardens and green fruit-trees, with here and there a black 
spire of cypress, and sweeping round in a bold curve from 
the left the white broad bed of the Charadrus. Early as 
the season was, not a drop of water was apparent; it had 
all trickled through the sand and gravel, drunk up, in 
fact, by the thirsty soil of Argos. Beyond, stretches the 
level plain, faintly green with young crops of cotton and 
tobacco ; a marsh towards the right, and then a curved 
line of beach, ending at the town and harbour of Nau- 
plia, over which rises the castle-crowned crag of Pala- 
medes. The Argive plain is bounded, on all but the 
seaward side, with an amphitheatre of jagged precipitous 
mountain ranges. Further away to the east is the peak 
of Arachne ; to the north, the fantastic shape of Fouka ; 
Cyllene soaring to the north-west ; and between them, 
the distant snows of Parnassus. 

In the afternoon we drove to Nauplia ; and were no 
sooner there than, glad to escape from its filthy streets 
and filthier inn, we got a boat to cross the bay. While 
inside the harbour, every dip of the oar stirred up foul 
mud, and raised a more than Thamesian stench. One 
cannot wonder that Nauplia was peculiarly liable to the 


plague while as yet there was plague. The reason of its 
disappearance I take to be this : — 

Plague was a generic name, applied by the ignorant 
and undiscriminating Franks of the Middle Ages, and 
Orientals of all ages, to a variety of epidemic diseases, 
each of which has now, thanks to the Hakims of the 
west, got its appropriate name. The scourge is not 
removed, only the sufferers have learned to distinguish 
the separate lashes of which it is composed. But this 
by the way. 

I observed that, as we sailed across the bay, the castle 
of Argos presented the appearance of a regular oblong 
quadrangle ; so that, unless it was very different in old 
times, it cannot have been from its shape that it acquired 
the name by which it is known in Plutarch — aspis, * a 
round shield/ Fragments of ancient wall, still extant, 
both in the external and internal courts, indicate that its 
former extent was coextensive with the present, and its 
shape probably identical. If so, the origin of ' aspis ' must 
be sought elsewhere ; perhaps in a piece of local slang 
immemorial at Argos ; in which case it may be sought, 
but will assuredly never be found. If it were not almost 
absurd even to guess at such a riddle, I would suggest 
that it is a popular contraction of v £<ra> ttoXiq. 

In an hour and twenty minutes, partly rowing and 
partly sailing, remis veils, with the aid of a feeble fickle 
breeze, we reached Myli, ' the Mills/ where a landing- 
place, with a few poor houses about it, marks the site of 
the ancient Lerna. Along the sea-shore is a strip of firm 
gravel ; but between this and the foot of the hills, quaking 
paths and ditches brimful of stagnant water, remind us 


that we are crossing the Lernsean marsh. At the edge 
of terra firma a copious source gushes from under con- 
glomerate rock, and close by is a still, deep pool. These 
features of nature remain unchanged, while the groves, 
temples, and statues which abounded hereabouts have 
left not a wreck behind. The traveller who visited this 
spot seventeen hundred years ago writes : 1 — ' I saw a 
fountain, called that of Amphiaraus, and the Alcyonian 
lake, through which the Argives say Dionysus went 
to Hades to bring up Semele. And there is no end to 
the depth of this lake ; and no man that I know of has 
ever been able by any device to reach the bottom, for 
even Nero, though he had ropes made of many stades in 
length, and tied them together and hung lead to the end 
of them and whatever else was useful for the attempt, 
even he could not find any limit to the depth/ As, in 
default of other apparatus for comparing the profundity 
of the Alcyonian pool with that of Pausanias's credulity, 
we were throwing pebbles into it, a peasant digging in a 
garden close by, who informed us that he was also a 
priest, came up and volunteered the statement that the 
pool had no bottom, for that once a man sounded it with 
a line of seventy-seven fathoms, and found none. There 
can be no doubt, at all events, of the identity of the 
lake. Pausanias goes on : — 

1 Here is another thing I heard. The water of the 
lake to look at is calm and still; but, although it presents 
this appearance, its nature is such that it draws down 
any one who ventures to swim across, and takes and 

1 Paus. ii. 37, 5. 


carries them away to the abyss. The circumference of 
the lake is not great, about a third of a stade' — i. e. sixty- 
seven yards, and I should guess much the same even 
now — ' and about its edges grow grass and reeds / to 
which I would add, yellow iris and wild celery. In a 
ditch close by I saw two large water snakes — Lernsean 
hydras — marked yellow and black. The creatures abound 
here still. Pausanias takes occasion to remark that, in 
his opinion, the hydra which Hercules killed here only 
differed from other hydras in size and venornousness, not 
in the number of its heads. f There was one Peisandros, 
of Kamira, who wrote a poem on the subject, and, like a 
lying Rhodian as he was, stuck all those heads on the 
hydra to make the beast more terrible, and to increase 
the dignity of his own poetry/ It was this same Peisan- 
dros who, disdaining the old story about Hercules killing 
the Stymphalian birds, to make his hero more terrible, 
represented him as frightening them away with a rattle. 
Sic itur ad astra. 

Here our horses met us. Hiding to the westward, 
along the right bank of a dry river-bed, the ancient 
Cheimarrhos — ' a river not falsely named/ as iEschylus 
says — then crossing it, and striking up the opposite hill, 
we came at length to the so-called 'Pyramid/ the object of 
which is a matter of dispute. Pausanias, whose brevity 
is sometimes as unseasonable and provoking as his pro- 
lixity at other times, here leaves us in the dark. All 
that he says with any possible reference to ' the Pyramid/ 
is, that c on the right of the road to Tegea, and above it, 
was a polyandria, in honour of the Argives, who defeated 
the Lacedaemonians near Hysise, in the time of the 


Athenian Pisistratus/ These polyandriae, or joint monu- 
ments, were common in Greece. That of the Athenians, 
at Marathon, was a tumulus surmounted by stelae, or 
pillars, inscribed with the names of the dead ; that of 
the Lacedaemonians, at Thermopylae, was the same ; that 
of the Boeotians, at Chaeronea, was a tumulus surmounted 
by a lion. In all cases, a tumulus appears to form an 
essential part of the monument. 

In this case c the Pyramid ' is built upon an eminence 
which seems at first sight to be artificial, but on closer 
inspection proves to be natural, for the native rock comes 
to the surface here and there. It may be that, nature 
having furnished the tumulus, the paucity of earth and 
the abundance of stones on this bleak hill-side suggested 
a building instead of a barrow. The building is quadran- 
gular, and is entered through a narrow passage formed by 
the overlapping of one of the walls, as in the examples 
already noticed at Mycenae and Tiryns. The exterior 
walls, at the height of some three feet from the ground, 
begin to slope inwards, making an angle of perhaps thirty 
degrees with the vertical. The interior walls do not slope. 
The inside is nearly a square of about twenty-three feet, 
and the outer walls are at the basement between nine and 
ten feet thick. As the inner face of the wall does not 
slope, it is clear that the building is not properly called a 
pyramid ; the wall must have terminated in a ridge of 
coping stones, at the height of some twelve or fourteen 
feet from the ground. There is a doorway, of which the 
top is formed by stones overhanging till they meet at the 
apex, like the postern at Tiryns. Another example occurs 
in the Cyclopean walls of Tusculum. 

h 2 


The style of the whole fabric is polygonal, and, what is 
very unusual in ancient Greek building of any style, the 
stones are joined with mortar, which, I am convinced, must 
have formed part of the original edifice, and is not to be 
attributed, as Colonel Leake suggests, to subsequent 
reparations. Now the question is, for what purpose did 
this building serve ? Clearly not for a fortress, for the 
sloping wall outside, which one can climb up, would faci- 
litate the attack of an enemy, and the straight wall inside, 
which one cannot see over, would prevent its being de- 
fended. I incline, then, to the belief that it is the 
Polyandria. As the building was not by any means a 
pyramid, and as there were probably many similar build- 
ings then extant in Greece, Pausanias did not think of 
making any remark on its form. The objection that the 
style is too early for the assigned date rests merely on 
hypothesis. We do not know when polygonal building 
finally ceased. Probably it continued to be employed in 
some cases long after the regular Hellenic was in general 
use ; for instance, where the requisite tools, skill, aud 
time were wanting. 

This is just the sort of building which one might con- 
ceive the survivors of an army to erect for their comrades. 
The elevation given by Colonel Leake represents the 
stones as much smaller than they really are; nor is the 
basement by any means so regular as in the picture. 
There are some remains of an Hellenic building not 
far off, and other traces of ancient habitation, from 
which we infer that the Kenchreia of Pausanias stood 

The road by which we return to Argos passes another 



place called ' Myli/ or the Mills, a common name in 
Greece. The mills in question are turned by the sources 
of the Erasinus, which issue from the foot of a precipitous 
hill. This ' son of the rock ' is full grown at his very 
birth, like Athene, and gushes out an abundant river of 
crystal water. In the face of the cliff above is a large 
cavern, one branch of which is walled off and made into 
a church ; the others wind far into the heart of the hill. 
About the mills grow willows, poplars, mulberries, and 
other f tame trees/ Here the Argives used to hold a 
festival, which they called Turbe, 1 in honour of Dionysus 
and Pan. It is so beautiful and, what is more to the 
purpose, so pleasant a spot, that, if it had been near Athens, 
it would have been made familiar to us in many an im- 
mortal song. No doubt its praises were hymned in not 
a few Argive dithyrambs. I suppose that no river of the 
same bulk has so short a course as the Erasinus, — some- 
thing more than a mile. The ancients imagined it to be 
identical with the river which disappears at Stymphalus y 
a notion which, strange to say, has found favour even in 
modern times. Colonel Mure believes that the fact had 

1 rvpfiri, perhaps connected with Oopvfios. 
z Herodotus, vi. 76 — ' Cleomenes had been told by the Delphic 
oracle that he should take Argos. So, when he came with an army 
of Spartans to the river Erasinus, which is said to flow from the 
Stymphalian lake, — for this lake, they say, falling into a dark chasm, 
reappears in Argos, and for the rest of its course this water is called 
by the Argives Erasinus, — be that as it may (S'&j'), when Cleomenes 
came to this river, he sacrificed to him, and as the omens were not fa- 
vourable to his crossing, he said that he admired Erasinus for not de- 
serting his countrymen, but the Argives should not come off scot-free 
for all that.' 


been ascertained by actual experiment, by throwing some- 
thing in at Stymphalus and seeing it re-appear at f the 
Mills.' There is not the slightest evidence that such an 
experiment was ever made ; it would require an amount 
of pains, patience, and concert such as the old Greeks 
were not in the habit of devoting to the examination of 
natural phenomena. Besides, even if there were a con- 
nexion between the rivers, it is not likely that such an 
experiment would ascertain it. Whatever was thrown in, 
would be almost certain never to come out. Floating 
substances would be arrested, and colouring matter filtered, 
on the way. The story of Alphseus and Arethusa, and a 
thousand similar absurdities, prove that the Greeks would 
believe anything about the waters under the firmament. 
No considerations as to distance, direction, difference of 
level, stood in the way of a legend. To them a river was 
a god and a fountain a nymph, — persons as well as 
things, — and the two ideas were confounded inseparably 
in the popular mind. Though water could not run up- 
hill, a god or nymph might. In this particular case, the 
facts apparent would have led a much less credulous 
people to the inference drawn. A copious river disap- 
pears at Stymphalus ; a river equally copious re-appears 
near Argos. What more obvious than to put this and 
that together? Now that we know something of the 
constitution of the earth's crust, it seems strange that 
such a theory should still be advocated. Considering that 
between the two places lie many ranges of lofty hills, 
with strata upturned and disrupted in all complexity of 
disorder — a disorder which, from the nature of the case, 
must prevail below the ground as well as above, the 


chances are infinite against a stream of water continuing 
in the same channel so far. 

Probably the waters of the Stymphalian river, severed 
into a thousand runlets, feed the sources of the Asopus 
and Nemea, and find their way to the Gulf of Corinth, 
while the Erasmus is a main drain of nature's contrivance 
for carrying the waters of Artemisium to the Gulf of 


It was growing dark as we remounted. By the road- 
side runs a copious stream, diverted from the Erasmus to 
irrigate the Argive fields and gardens. A multitude of 
frogs assailed us with a pertinacious chorus, in notes much 
louder and harsher than the notes of the frogs of England. 
They begin with an inarticulate preparatory sound, like an 
old Dutch clock groaning in the effort to strike, and end 
with a succession of spluttering ' quacks/ The frog Ian- 
guage cannot be better rendered into articulate speech 
than by the Brekekekex koax koax of Aristophanes. Our 
men threw stones at them to stop their clamour with very 
little success. When Dionysus in the play says, ' Ah, I 
thought I should stop your koax at last/ I fancy that he 
does it by hitting the chorus severally on the head with 
his oar. They were most likely arranged in a row at the 
back of the stage, with their heads just appearing above 
the floor, along which floor (a lake for the nonce) Dionysus 
is rowing his boat by the aid of the « machine man » un- 
derneath. It is a pity that no stage directions have come 
down to us with the ancient drama. 

Hrjxavonoios. Aristoph. Pax. 174. 



rPHE next day was Palm- Sunday, according to the 
-*- orthodox calendar. Instead of palms they used laurels 
to decorate the churches and the doorposts of their 
houses. Like the eiresionse of old, the withered houghs 
are suffered to remain till the recurrence of another fes- 
tival. The children carried houghs in their hands — the 
men had sprigs in their button-holes. "We went to early 
service at the cathedral — for there is a bishop here 1 — a 
plain but spacious edifice. The back seats on the ground- 
floor were occupied by the married women ; the unmarried 
sat in a gallery with lattice-work before it, as if their 
presence at church was like the presence of ladies in the 
House of Commons, not allowed, but winked at. The 
best part of the church was filled by the men. As soon as 
we appeared, the crowd made May for us with great 
politeness, and we were ushered — to speak truly, I ought 

1 In the list of modern Greek sees given by Mr. Neale {History of 
the Eastern Church, Introduction, p. 95), Argos is omitted. Per- 
haps the bishopric is of quite recent creation. It was once a metro- 
politan see ; but after Evrenos the Ottoman, in the time of Bajazet I., 
in the year 1397, had stormed the place and carried all its inhabitants 
off to be sold as slaves, Nauplia was made metropolis in its stead. — 
Neale, 1. c. ; Finlay, Mediaeval G-reece, p. 275. 


to say shoved — into very conspicuous places. I observed 
then, and frequently afterwards, that a Greek congrega- 
tion indulges its love of novelty quite openly, making 
great eyes of wonder at a stranger, continuing all the 
while to intone their part of the service "with great vigour. 
There is none of that hypocrisy which, in the Latin 
Church, limits the indulgence of curiosity to the corner 
of the eye. 

The priests and their ministrations are concealed behind 
a huge wooden screen during the service, while a mono- 
tonous chant is going on outside. The air of restlessness 
and inattention which prevails among the congregation, 
the nasal twang and lugubrious monotony of the chant, the 
absence of instrumental music, make the Greek service, to 
a stranger, far less impressive than that of the Church of 
Rome. Besides, the scenic effect of the latter is far 
superior. Before a high altar decked with flowers, lights, 
and costly plate, stand the priests, richly attired, measured 
and graceful in every gesture, or motionless in silent 
prayer, with white-robed acolytes kneeling below, and all 
the while over the kneeling people ring the sweet psalms 
of the choir, and the ground beneath shakes with the 
thunders of the organ — the whole scene so contrived as 
to fix the attention, charm the sense, please the taste, and 
calm the spirits — the very perfection of ritual. In the 
Greek Church all these accessories are wanting, and the 
consecration of the elements, the grand climax of this 
sacred drama, is performed, not coram populo, but behind 
the scenes ; while at intervals, the sudden opening and 
sudden shutting of one of the doors at which a priest is 
seeu to appear for a moment and vanish with most irre- 


verent haste produce an effect which, if scenic at all, is 
one of the effects of the comic stage. But I forbear to 
dwell on the subject; I should be, indeed, sorry to say 
anything savouring of irreverent jest. A stranger judges 
such matters from a false point of view. He cannot 
sympathise with the thousand associations which, growing 
up with men from their infancy and their home, give a 
sanctity and solemnity to rites which at first sight seem 
trivial and even profane; nor can he make due allowance 
for that long familiarity which makes men callous to 
anomalies and absurdities and blunts the edge of ridicule. 

The only moment in which the service appears striking 
to a spectator, though, from the nervous and fussy manner 
peculiar to Greeks, scarcely solemn even then, is that in 
which a door in the great screen opens, and the priest 
appears with the consecrated elements, the wafer on his 
head, and the cup in his hand, both covered with an em- 
broidered cloth. All the congregation cross themselves 
(in Greek fashion, from right to left), and stoop down, 
making a gesture as if to touch the ground with their 
hands. This last is a Turkish fashion. 

This church at Argos, though a building of yesterday, 
differs in no important detail, either inside or out, from 
the oldest churches of the country. The rigid and 
unchangeable character which marks the Eastern Church 
in all things, is most patent in its ecclesiastical architecture. 
St. Sophia, erected a.d. 537, has served as the model for 
all subsequent churches. Of course I do not mean that 
all the details of St. Sophia are repeated in every case — 
indeed, there is probably no exact copy in petto of the 
original — but that the essential divisions are maintained 



and carried out into detail, as well as the size of the 
building and the means of the builders have permitted. 

A brief description of one suffices, with slight variation, 
for all. The general form is a Greek cross with a cupola 
in the centre, each of the four spaces between the adjacent 
arms of the cross being occupied by a kind of aisle, com- 
pleting the square. At the east end are three apses. 

At the west end is a porch, proaulion, sometimes part 
of the main building, sometimes an addition or ' lean-to/ 
Entering from the porch, we are in the main body of the 
church, which is divided by a low wooden railing into two 
parts. The western is called the narthex, and is appro- 
priated to the women; the eastern to the men. An 
oblong space in the centre of the latter, reaching to the 
foot of the screen, is separated off and stalled round. 
Some of the stalls are appropriated to the officiating 
ministers j the rest are occupied by the principal laymen. 
This space is called, from the stalls, which are on three 
sides of it, stasidia. We now come to the distinctive 
feature of an Eastern church, the great screen, or eicono- 
stasis, which runs from north to south, shutting out the 
altar from the view of the congregation. It is of great 
height, reaching sometimes to the roof, and is panelled 
into compartments, each having a saint depicted on it of 
the stiff, angular, conventional type which has been in 
immemorial use among Greek Christians, for their painting 
is as little progressive as their architecture. This elaborate 
screen and the disposition of the stalls remind one of the 
retablo and the choir of a Spanish church ; but there is 
this all-important difference, that the altar is before the 
retablo, but behind the eiconostasis. Behind this screen 


are the three apses above mentioned. The central apse is 
called bema, containing the altar detached from the wall, 
and behind it the synthro7ios, or throne for the bishop and 
clergy, such as we see in San Clemente and other ancient 
churches in Rome. The northern apse is the prothesis, or 
credenza, as it is called in Italy ; the southern the diaconicon 
or skenophylakion — that is to say, sacristy, vestry. The 
gynsekonitis was a gallery intended, as its name imports, 
for women. In St. Sophia and the larger churches it 
extended along three sides of the building — every side but 
the eastern — and corresponded in position with our tri- 
forium. In the smaller churches it occupied only the 
western end. It had been gradually disused, but has 
been revived again, as I have said, in the Cathedral of 
Argos. I believe that even the Greek Church has felt 
the influence of that spiritual movement which has created 
the ultra-montane party in the Latin Church, and which 
has agitated even the most Protestant communities. 
Patriotism, too, combines to stimulate among the Greeks 
a love and imitation of those ecclesiastical antiquities 
which are to them symbols of national faith and national 
independence. The gynsekonitis at Argos is perhaps a 
symptom of the general feeling — a straw which tells how 
the wind blows. 

To collect the various terms used at different times to 
designate the internal arrangements and furniture of an 
Eastern church, to trace their etymology, and to deter- 
mine their primary meaning, is a work of no idle anti- 
quarian curiosity, but full of deep interest to all who 
profess themselves Christians. 

I cannot here do more than glance at the subject ; 



neither my knowledge nor my limits permit me to treat 
of it at length. It seems, indeed, impertinent to make a 
brief episode out of what might well furnish matter for 
volumes— a subject which has exercised the marvellous 
erudition of Du Cange. Working on the basis of Du 
Cange, Allatius, and others, Mr. J. M. Neale has written 
a profound and elaborate treatise in the work I have 
already quoted. This portion of his book is, however, 
rather ecclesiological than historical ; he collects facts, but 
abstains from drawing inferences as to the progressive 
changes of ritual and discipline in the early Church. In 
ecclesiastical historians generally one observes a tendency 
to represent both ritual and discipline as self-evolved from 
Apostolic practice and teaching, and to ignore the accre- 
tions and admixtures which the Church may have con- 
tracted from the observances of Paganism, or the customs 

of the world. 

When Christianity first became dominant, the buildings 
most easily convertible into churches were the basilicas, 
or court-houses ; and hence the name still retained by the 
oldest churches in Rome. To this fact is owing the 
existence of the Bema, where the bishop sits enthroned in 
the chair of the Athenian Arch on, or the Roman Praetor. 
The screen, or eiconostasis, is still commonly known by 
the term Kiyic\l$SQ, or SpvfaKToi, signifying lattice-work ; 
the very words formerly employed to designate the 
wooden partition which, in an Athenian court, separated 
the parties concerned in the business from the spectators. 
The gradual enlargement of this partition marks the 
growth of sacerdotal power and of the judaizing spirit 
which led men to reproduce, as far as they could, in 


their churches and ritual, the destroyed temple of Jeru- 
salem and the abolished ceremonies of the Mosaic law. 
Thus the portion within the screen represented the Holy of 
Holies, and indeed was sometimes so called. The curtains 
over the doorways in the screen are due probably to the 
same source. St. Sophia had its ' beautiful gates/ like the 
second temple. The Nestorian and Abyssinian Churches 
have restored, I believe, the tabernacle and the ark. 

When Christianity had consummated its triumph over 
the old religion, the heathen temples were converted into 
churches. Of this fact, too, we find some traces in the 
nomenclature of the modern church. For instance, the 
vestibule is called Pronaos, and the body of the edifice 
Naos, exactly as in the Parthenon. 

One of the most perplexing words in etymology and 
application is the word narthex. In modern times it is 
applied to the porch outside the church at the west end; in 
old days it was given to a part of the church itself, which 
was separated off for the use of the catechumens and 
penitents, ' dreeing their dole.' Afterwards, when the 
world was Christianized, and all were admitted into the 
Church in infancy, and at the same time the vigorous 
discipline of earlier days declined, catechumens and peni- 
tents disappeared, and the place in the sacred building 
vacated by them was given to the women. Narthex has 
been derived from nerthe, because it was belovj the ambon 
or body of the church ; but this derivation is rejected by 
Du Cange, Stephanus, and Neale, who suppose that it 
was so called from its shape, narrow and long, like the 
stalk of the plant of that name. This seems very unsatis- 
factory. That it was narrow and long in the earlier days 


we have no evidence, indeed, all probability is against it ; 
the more numerous the catechumens the broader it would 
be; and, admitting the hypothesis, the simile is not one 
likely to commend itself to the popular mind. 

The narthex is, in its primary signification, the umbel- 
liferous plant called kaldmi in modern Greek, the Ferula 
communis of Linnaeus, which grows abundantly about 
the bay of Phalerum. In the stalk is a pith, which 
makes good tinder when dry. Hence the story, that in 
it Prometheus brought down from heaven the 'fount 
of fire ' which he gave to men. The word was used 
afterwards for a casket to hold any precious thing, a 
medicine-chest, and, metaphorically, a book containing 
medical recipes, a dietary. From this myth the narthex 
acquired also a symbolical meaning ; and- hence its em- 
ployment in the mysteries of Bacchus as a wand borne 
by the worshippers. Now, is it possible that the ecclesi- 
astical meaning of the word may be derived from either 
of these significations ? May the catechumens have been 
regarded as under a kind of medical treatment, their 
souls requiring to be healed and cleansed before they were 
fit for admission among the sound flock ? A period of 
probation and a spiritual regimen was prescribed to them, 
and the term ' dietary ' does not seem very far-fetched 
as applied to their condition and their appointed place. 

On the other hand, I think that a strong case may be 
made out for its derivation from the mystic wand. At 
the time of the final agonies of Paganism, the only 
poi-tions of the old religion which retained any vitality, at 
least among those of Greek race and language, were the 
mysteries. Here alone persons agitated by religious 


hopes and fears, distracted by doubt, oppressed with a 
sense of sin, found pleasing excitement in dark riddles 
and symbolic rites, and consolation in the promised im- 
mortality. The hierophauts proclaimed the unity of God, 
and held out to the initiated a remedy for the evils of 
this life. It was doubtless upon this same class of minds 
that Christianity acted with the greatest power. 

There can be no question that multitudes of the early 
converts had been initiated in some Pagan mysteries, and 
as little question that the first Christian ritual was adapted 
so as to convey the great truths of the Gospel in the form 
most calculated to impress them on the minds of the con- 
gregation. Hence the tendency in the outside world to 
confound the Christian with the Pagan mysteries ; hence 
the calumnies spread by hostile writers, charging the 
Christians with all manner of secret superstitions and 
atrocious rites ; hence, too, the violent invectives of the 
Fathers against the Pagan rites, from which they were 
desirous to distinguish their own. But, from the circum- 
stances of the case, we may be sure that the converts 
would draw parallels and comparisons between their new 
and their old worship, and would apply metaphorically to 
the new, terms derived from the old. And if in the 
Greek ritual some terms were used which were borrowed 
thus from Eleusis or Lebadea, it is no more disgraceful 
than the conduct of the Pope who first assumed the title 
of Pontifex. I conceive, then, that the universally-known 
and abundantly- quoted line which says 

7roXXoi pev vap6rjKO(popoi, Travpoi 8e re fidicxoi, 

had caused the term narthekophori to be applied to those 


who professed a creed but were not fully instructed in its 
innermost meanings ; hence it may have been given to 
the catechumens of the early Church, and the word 
narthex, by no violent change, applied to the place set 
apart for them. If this be so, we have in the structure 
of every sacred building a complete memorial of the 
earliest history of the Christian faith, showing by what 
steps it absorbed the religion and identified itself with 
the polity of the ancient world. 



A T Argos our American friend and the grave Eleuthe- 
-*"*- rius left us to return to Athens. The rest of the party- 
started in the opposite direction, on the 20th of April, about 
two in the afternoon. It was a day of cloudless sunshine. 
Young as the year was, the heat in the town had been ex- 
cessive. About noon the thermometer marked 82 on the 
shady side of the street. But, as we rounded the north- 
eastern shoulder of the hill and pursued our way up the 
valley of the Charadrus, fresh breezes from Arcadia met us, 
and headache and lassitude departed at their bidding. The 
only remains of antiquity which we saw were, first, an 
aqueduct of Roman or Byzantine construction, appearing 
at intervals in ruined fragments along the hill-side to the 
left, and from its direction manifestly intended to carry 
some mountain-stream to Argos; and, secondly, further 
on to the right, a square tower, apparently Hellenic, built 
probably for an outpost to watch and defend the pass. 
The scenery grew wilder and the air fresher as we went 
on. Instead of bare ground, patched with cistus and 
thyme, we found closer and greener herbage; and stunted 
shrubs gave place to copse and thicket as our path, now 
up the bed of a torrent, now along the steep side of a 
ravine, crept and wound and climbed into the bosom 

KARYA. 115 

of the hills. In about four hours and a half we 
came to Karya, a little village nestling in a well- 
watered, well-sheltered hollow, on the main range of 
Artemisium. The white-walled, red-roofed houses are 
scattered on the slope, each with its own green plot of 
field and garden beside it. A wreath of blue smoke 
curled up from each chimneyless roof, finding its way 
through the tiles as best it might. We thought that we 
had never seen anything so beautiful. There are, I dare 
say, a thousand villages, in high Alpine valleys, which are 
every whit as beautiful as Karya ; but it is only after the 
eye has been wearied with a succession of barren grey 
mountains and burnt brown plains that it feels the true 
pleasure of resting on verdure. It was a pleasant fore- 
taste of Arcadia. "Whether Karya be really within the 
limits of the ancient Arcadia is doubtful. The boundary 
did not run, as might have been expected, along the crest 
of the hill ; but on its eastern flank, partly along the 
upper course of the Inachus. It was sunset as we 
entered the village. On a knoll were assembled some 
thirty or forty men — nearly all the adult male inha- 
bitants — for no graver purpose than confabulation and 
1 confumation/ for the cigarette is an unfailing accom- 
paniment of the modern lesche. All saluted us with a 
low bow, placing at the same time the right hand on the 
heart, and raising the left hand to the forehead; a fashion 
probably learned from the Turks, and now disused in the 
larger towns. We asked for the Demarch, and a dapper 
young fellow in Albanian petticoats and fez cap stepped 
out. To him we presented a circular letter, with which 
the Minister of the Interior had favoured us, addressed 

i 2 


to all Government functionaries, requesting them to 
afford us all assistance, &c. He had no sooner read it, 
or made believe to read it, for I am not sure that he 
held it the right way up, than he, ' with open arms as 
he would fly, grasped in the comers/ Literally, he 
seized each of us by the hand, and ran down the hill 
with us to his house, in the best room of which — there 
were but two — we were immediately installed, and pre- 
sented with jam and a glass of pure cold water in 
token of welcome. Here, as everywhere, we found the 
most genuine kindness and hospitality ; and if the guests 
are not perfectly comfortable, it is certainly from no want 
of goodwill on the part of the host. It may, perhaps, 
seem ungracious to mention that during the night we 
found that the Demarches hospitality was shared by a 
multitude of unbidden guests, and that we suffered the 
woes, and might have uttered the complaint, of Strep- 
siades in the play. 1 As this is the first time I have had 
occasion to mention a demarch, I may as well explain 
that this ancient title has not come down by tradition 
from classical times, but is quite a recent revival. After 
the restoration of independence the internal organization 
of the country was completely remodelled, and the modern 
French system was taken as a pattern and implicitly fol- 
lowed. Greece was divided into nomarchies, which were 
subdivided into eparchies, which in turn consist of a 
certain number of demi, or parishes. These are respec- 
tively administered by nomarchs, eparchs, and demarchs, 

8d<vfi /ie 8r]fiap^6s tls etc tuiv aTpcofiaTav. — Aristophanes, 
Nubes, 37. 


whose functions correspond to those of the French prefets, 
sous-prefets, and maires de commune, each to each. 

We left Karya about seven next morning, and walked 
on to escape from the tumult of packing and loading; on 
which occasions the wrath of Alexander vented itself upon 
Alcibiades the bad subject and Pericles the sullen. While 
we were there, one after another of the villagers passed 
by on their way to their daily work in some distant field. 
Each greeted us with a kindly c kalemera ' (koX' -h/iipa), 
1 good morning.' We waited for our troop at an angle 
of the road which looks over the peaceful village with its 
smoking roofs. Close by was a water-mill, constructed 
thus : — a strong buttress of wall is built against the hill- 
side, and on the top of it a series of wooden troughs 
convey a runlet of water at the proper angle to the 
wheel. The dripping wall was tufted with lady-ferns 
and all manner of luxuriant grasses. We had often 
occasion to admire the patient ingenuity with which a 
scanty stream of water was brought for miles, in a 
channel made along the hill-side, to turn one of these 
mill-wheels, and then distributed to the fields below. 

It was often our lot to rest in the neighbourhood of 
such a mill, for there we were sure to find the two essen- 
tial requisites, water and shade. 

I remember, in particular, this of Karya, and the 
pleasant half-hour we spent listening to the groaning of 
the wheel and the plashing of the water. There was a 
fresh Alpine breeze blowing, a bright sunshine glistening 
on dewy grass — earth and sky ' washed/ as it were, 'with 
morning/ It was a scene which would have inspired 
Theocritus with an idyl, destitute indeed of sentiment, 


but full of that frank and genuine human feeling which 
is the salt of literature. 

I am persuaded that if travellers' books were written 
in the same honest spirit, and without reference to the 
effect to be produced on sentimental readers, we should 
find that the scenes which dwelt most vividly on their 
memory were those associated with recollections of per- 
sonal comfort and enjoyment. 

The rarity of any indications of a taste for the picturesque 
in ancient literature has of late years been a good deal dis- 
cussed and variously explained. The chief reasons assigned 
are, first, that the Greeks, living habitually amidst the 
most beautiful natural scenery, got to feel for it the same 
indifference which we observe at this day in the Swiss 
and Tyrolese. T remember one of the Yaudois peasants, 
whose cottage was in a beautiful valley of the upper Alps, 
complaining bitterly of the { brutto paese ' in which it 
was his misfortune to dwell. Secondly, the Greeks were 
by nature a sensuous, and by circumstances a practical, 
people. Thirdly, they were in the habit of personifying 
everything. Not only did they hold, with the modern 
poet, that there was ' a spirit in the woods,' but their 
creed was more precise still. They held that every wood 
had its separate spirit, or spirits, taking a corporeal shape, 
Dryads or Hamadryads, as the case might be. Thus the 
sense of the solemnity, beauty, and mystery of nature, 
which for us moderns spreads a vague charm over all 
landscape, was for the ancients condensed into a single 
superstition, wanting grandeur as a stimulus to the 
imagination, and wanting variety as a theme for poetry. 

These reasons have all, I think, a certain truth, but each 

KARYA. 119 

is liable to qualification and abatement. First, the 
scenery of Greece is beautiful in various degrees. No 
familiarity with the puny mountains of Attica would ac- 
count for the indifference of an Athenian to the sublimity 
of Taygetus and Parnassus. Secondly, all modern peoples 
are sensuous in their way, and some eminently practical; 
yet we find that neither of these qualities prevents indi- 
viduals among them from having a love for the beauties 
of nature. The most picturesque of poets was a Scotch- 
man and a writer to the signet. Thirdly, all genuine 
belief in Dryads and Hamadryads had died out before the 
historical age of Greece. I am persuaded that neither 
Pindar nor Sophocles, much less Euripides or Theocritus, 
had the smallest expectation of • meeting a goddess when 
he went into a wood ' (to use Mr. Ruskin's phrase), or 
felt his fancy hampered by any such belief among his 

Therefore, taking all these reasons together, they do 
not appear sufficient to account for the alleged difference 
between the ancient and modern feeling for natural beauty. 
I say f the alleged difference/ for I think that the real 
difference was neither so wide nor so essential as has 
been assumed. 

The Greeks had, as all admit, a keen appreciation of 
such natural objects as contributed to their personal com- 
fort and pleasure, the shady grove, the greensward, the 
babbling stream ; while the strikingly significant epithets 
assigned to more remote objects, earth and sea, rivers and 
mountains, argue in the people a habit of acute observa- 
tion quite at variance with the supposition of indif- 


A people who so ardently clung to life, and had so 
unaffected a horror of death, could not but be profoundly- 
touched by the sad contrast of the abiding permanence of 
natural objects — the sure recurrence of natural pheno- 
mena, with the brevity and uncertainty of human life. 
Hence, probably, in early days the deification of the ever- 
lasting hills, the ever-flowing rivers, of sun and moon and 
stars ; hence, too, the retention of the language of that 
old religion in days when real belief in the personality of 
its deities had long died out. The gods lived no longer 
in the faith of reason, but their names were to a Greek 
ear significant of the power, the beauty, and the majesty 
which still haunted their hills and woods. Language to 
them pregnant with deep meanings and implicit pathos, 
now that the tradition is broken, seems to a modern ear 
fantastic and absurd. For us ' mighty Pan ' is doubly 

Neither, again, were the ancients not insensible to the 
subtle sympathies and analogies which may be found be- 
tween moods of the mind and aspects of nature. Familiar 
instances are the sullen Achilles, nursing his spleen as he 
gazes £7rt oivoira ttovtov, and the bereaved Chryses mourn- 
ing as he walks irapa 6iva 7roAi;^>Aota'j3oio OaXaaarjg. 

More than this we find in no people, and in no poet, 
before this nineteenth century. Cowper only echoes 
Virgil, himself echoing some voice from Greece, when he 

cries — 

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness, 
Some boundless contiguity of shade ! 

And Home's sentiment is contained implicitly in many 
an ancient poet, when he makes Lady Randolph say — 

KARYA. 121 

Ye woods and wilds, whose melancholy gloom 
Accord with my soul's sadness, &c. 

The musings of the melancholy Jaques might, with 
little risk of anachronism, be put into the mouth of Timon 
of Athens. And, to descend to common prose, what ancient 
Greek ever showed more insensibility to the sublimities of 
nature than does Horace Walpole, who wrote thus to Sir 
H. Mann not a hundred years ago? — '(Aug. 27, 1765.) 
Well, after twenty-three years of designs and irresolutions, 
I am actually leaving England ! You will ask kindly whether 
almost any foreign thought in those years did not point 
beyond Paris ? O, yes ! — but, alas ! think how ill I have 
been, not to mention that I am older by twenty-three 
years. That space has made Alps and Apennines grow 
twenty times taller, and more wrinkled and horrid/ 

Thus Walpole, in his most sentimental mood. And 
we may be sure that, if anything resembling the now 
prevalent enthusiasm for scenery had been felt by his 
contemporaries, we should have found it affected by him. 

The present fashion of nature-worship is a thing of 
yesterday, and will not be a thing of to-morrow. It is a 
phase of literature and art which will pass away. A 
thousand causes contribute to it; as, for instance, the 
growth of the natural sciences, the exhaustion of old sub- 
jects for poetry and painting, the habit of holiday-tours 
consequent on the increased facilities for travelling, and 
productive of increased accommodations for travellers. To 
the majority, the hotels of Switzerland are at least as 
attractive as its glaciers. I doubt, indeed, whether it can 
with truth be said of any one that he ' loves Nature for 
her own sake/ The most enthusiastic lover of Nature 


loves her because of the effect which the contemplation of 
her produces upon his own mind and feelings — an effect 
not so direct and simple as that avowed by the older 
poets ; so refined, it may be, as scarcely to be traceable 
by any mental analysis, but very real notwithstanding. 
To love Nature for her own sake would be a senseless and 
objectless fetish-worship. There are, no doubt, many who 
persuade themselves that they are thus unselfish in their 
passion, and thereby render themselves guilty of an ido- 
latry as extravagant as that of any errant knight for his 
Dulcinea. But if it did not serve some useful purpose, 
it would not have lasted so long. ' To sit on rocks, to 
muse o'er flood and fell/ is an excellent alterative regi- 
men for persons wearied with the strife and the turmoil 
of Westminster and Mayfair. The Greek, whose daily 
life even in the city was much more simple, regular, 
and healthful, and whose ' city ' was not a measureless 
expanse of unsightly brick and stucco-work, canopied with 
a never-lifting cloud of smoke, needed not, and knew not, 
the medicinal power of rural solitude. Their artists, who 
daily saw far other models of human beauty than those 
now available — men who have been muffled in flannel and 
women who have been imprisoned in stays — held with 
their poets that the proper study of mankind was man, 
and were content with dashing in a rough sketch of 
scenery as background to his picture of some historic or 
heroic deed. 1 To them the marsh and the mountains of 
Marathon were of quite secondary interest as compared 
with the battle. Now-a-days the artist who, in default 

See Pausanias's description of the painting in the Pcecile (i. 15, 4). 

KARYA. 123 

of a better subject, loves nature as per order, sells his 
out-of-door sketches at fabulous prices. If from the 
body of professing lovers of nature we make the deduc- 
tions due to fashion, affectation, and interest, we shall 
find but a small residuum ; and those, if w r e could but 
analyse their feelings, would be found, as I have said, to 
be loving Nature not for her sake but their own. Rugged 
mountains and wild glens are retained in the memory, 
peopled by a world of pleasant associations, good sport, 
scientific discovery, healthful exercise, hearty appetite, the 
sense of renovated strength, and the buoyant spirits of 
holiday. It is but right and proper that our poets who 
share these feelings, should sing them ; but our poetasters 
have over -ridden the hobby. The conventional language 
which they employ will probably be to their children a 
jargon as unintelligible as it is to a Frenchman or an 
Italian of the present day. The purely descriptive poems 
of Wordsworth and others will be forgotten ; those which 
deal with humanity, remembered, and popular in propor- 
tion as they are human. If Greece ever passed through 
this particular phase of sentimentalism, all the literature 
belonging to it has perished, as it deserved. But there 
was one reason which has not been brought forward yet, 
why this could not have been. It is a mood of mind 
which requires seclusion and solitude for its aliment. The 
Greeks were the most gregarious of people ; their literature 
was intended for the theatre and the stoa, to be declaimed 
and recited and sung in public, not read in the closet. 
It is impossible for a thousand people at once to be senti- 
mental and tender on the beauties of nature. What the 
aforesaid Timon* may have been we have no means of 


knowing. His contemporaries would not listen to him, 
and he had no reading public to fall back upon, composed 
of persons who once a year, according to the fashion, for- 
sook the city and wandered about the mountains, Timons 
for the nonce. 1 

So pleasant was the spot where we were waiting, that 
we felt almost sorry to see at length our troop of horses 
winding up the hill to join us. 

1 The whole subject, which the nature and limits of my hook com- 
pel me to treat thus summarily, has been discussed at length by Mr. 
Ruskin in the fourth volume of Modern Painters, and by Mr. Cope 
in the Cambridge Essays for 1856. 



HP HE pass by which we crossed the Arteniisian range is 
-*- beyond question that called anciently Prinus. A 
more circuitous pass to the north was called Klimax. It 
is possible that the Prinus may have derived its name 
from the Greek equivalent for ilex (Trplvog). Near the 
top is a little church, dedicated, as are most of the high- 
places of Christian Greece, to Saint Elias, with a group 
of ilex-trees beside it. In all likelihood this was the 
site of an ancient temple, possibly of the temple to 
Artemis, the patroness of the mountain called after her. 
In old times the temenos surrounding any temple was 
habitually filled with trees, and the ilex-trees of Saint 
Elias may be the descendants of the sacred grove where, 
after half their journey done, travellers stayed for rest, 
shelter, or prayer. The pass ascends into the region of 
pines, mostly black and pointed, like the Scotch fir, while 
here and there one spreads like a cedar. The flowers are 
abundant — violets, hyacinths, blue-bells, wood-aneniones, 
and yellow ranunculus, and in places there is a thick growth 
of shrubs, the dwarf-ilex, and the juniper. Immediately 
to the south rises a bare rocky peak, one of the highest 
summits of Artemisium. On the further side of the ridge 
a steep and stony path leads down to Tzipiana. We tread 


for some distance upon grey and blue slates, the edge 
uppermost, mixed here and there with quartz. 

The traveller who enters Arcadia from this side will 
assuredly be disappointed. The prospect as he descends 
the western slope of Artemisium neither corresponds with 
the poetical and proverbial renown of the country, nor 
bears out the illusive promise of Karva. Before him is a 
bleak chain of grey limestone, with hardly so much as a 
scantling of dark pine or patch of green pasture, and 
below, at the foot of the hills, a flat, cold, sodden plain. 
And yet that barren mountain is Maenalus, the favourite 
haunt of Pan, whom, even in Pausanias's time, the shep- 
herds thereabouts heard piping. But it must have been 
the other side of Msenalus which Pan loved, and the 
Arcadia which lies to the westward, that poets have 
vaunted for pastoral beauty, where, instead of grey rock 
and sodden plain, there are deep dells thick with wood, 
each bearing its tributary rill to the Alphseus and green 
alps of sloping pasture-land between. 

'Arcadia/ when used in the wider sense, including 
Mantinea and Tegea, is only, like ' Italy ' according to 
Metternich, a geographical expression. These two cities 
have a history of their own, and are not so closely con- 
nected with Arcadia proper as are Neuchatel and Geneva 
with the forest cantons. Their history was intimately 
connected with that of Greece in general, and was com- 
plicated with the alliances and quarrels of their neigh- 
bours. In one point only the Mantineans and Tegeans 
were uniformly consistent — they always took opposite 
sides, hating each other with the hate of near neighbours, 
and illustrating the old saw, ' one thicket cannot keep 


two thieves/ The real Arcadians dwelt in their mountain- 
villages apart, sometimes overawed, but never enslaved, 
by Sparta. It was they who furnished the redoubtable 
mercenaries to the highest bidder — another Swiss trait. 
After the building of Megalopolis they seem to have 
gradually lost whatever was distinctive in their national 

At half-past eleven we reached Tzipiana, at the foot of 
the pass. Traversing its steep and narrow street, we came 
to a fountain, a few hundred yards away from the village 
on the right, where we halted for breakfast. There was but 
little shade, and the fountain was puddled by cattle ; but 
close by, a ruined church of the Panaghia afforded us 
shelter. We had, the while, a fine view of Tzipiana, 
niched in the steep hill-side ; on a ledge, a thousand feet 
above, a large convent with cypresses, and, hanging over 
all, a fantastic spire of crag. 

The fountain aud church are on a low ridge connect- 
ing the main chain with a little outlying hill, which, 
sloping upwards from the ridge aforesaid, falls on the 
other sides sheer down to the plain. On the top is 
a level table-land. Here, strolling without any purpose 
after breakfast, I made a discovery. 1 Where the higher 

1 At least so I thought at the time. I afterwards observed that 
the French map gives at this place the dots which are the conven- 
tional signs of ancient ruins ; and I have since found, from a map in 
the first volume of Curtius's Peloponnesos, that he, or Eoss, had 
already identified them with Nestane. ' Pereant qui ante nos nostra 
dixerunt.' I leave the text as it was originally written, for the 
reasons mentioned in the preface. The position, hy-the-bye, which 
he gives to the ' Philippos Quelle' is not nearly so suitable to the 
words of Pausanias as that which I have suggested. 


level, ascends from the ridge, are the remains of walls, 
varying in thickness from fifteen to twenty feet, built of 
large rough stones, without mortar, in nearly straight 
courses, apparently of a very remote antiquity. There is 
a gateway, defended, like that at My cense, by a projecting 
wall. The fortifications may be traced on each side to 
the point where the descent becomes precipitous, and 
walls unnecessary. Nearly in the centre of the platform 
thus defended is the basement of an oblong building, 
about fifty-four feet by twenty-two, and in other places 
the ground has been artificially smoothed. These are 
clearly the remains of some ancient town. So far as I 
know, they have not been observed by any traveller, for 
they are not visible from the road below, and the tint of 
the walls does not differ from that of the grey limestone 
cliff which forms with them the circuit of defence. The 
question is, what name are we to assign to them ? Pau- 
sanias, after telling us that there were two roads from 
Argos to Mantinea, the Prinus and the Klimax, proceeds 
to describe the objects on the latter, up to the gates of 
Mantinea, then recurs to the former route — which is our 
route — though without again mentioning its name. He 
says (viii. 7, 1), ' As you cross by Artemisium to the 
Mantinean territory, you will come to a plain called 
c Idle/ as in fact it is ; for the rain-water which comes 
down into it from the mountains makes the plain inca- 
pable of cultivation, and nothing hinders this same plain 
from being a lake but that the water disappears into a 
chasm in the ground.' Now, to the right of the hill on 
which we are standing, lies a plain embosomed in hills, 
and divided from the great plain of Mantinea by a lower 


P/.ilr ■-, 


J H /..'l: 

/,>/'/■ IV Corker '. Sen ■/•/.•. West Strand 


range, parallel to Artemisium. This plain is under water 
during the winter months, and has all the appearance of 
the dried bed of a lake. Indeed, a lake it would be, but 
that the water finds its exit by some subterraneous channel 
(or katabothron). It is, indeed, no longer uncultivated, 
for when we passed, April 21, the blades of late-sown 
corn were just making their appearance; a change due 
either to the natural enlargement of the emissary, or to 
the accumulation of a permeable alluvial soil. Here, I 
think, we must fix the Argon Pedion, not where Colonel 
Leake places it — some miles to the south — for then the 
words of Pausanias would not be applicable. The tra- 
veller would reach Mantiuea by this road without ever 
crossing or approaching it. Pausanias proceeds : ' On 
the left of this plain, called Argon, there is a hill belong- 
ing to the Mantineans, containing ruins of the tent of 
Philip, son of Amyntas, and of a village, Nestane, for 
they say that Philip encamped by this Nestane, and the 
fountain there they call to this day ' Philippion/ .... 
And, after the ruins of Nestane, there is a much-revered 
temple of Demeter, and every year the Mantineans cele- 
brate a feast to her. And close to Nestane lies some 
land named that of Maira, which you might almost call 
a part of the plain Argon, and the road across the Argon 
is of ten stades. And after crossing a hill of no great 
height you will come to another plain,' &c. 

I have little or no doubt that the wall which I found 
is the wall which was a ruin in Pausanias's time, that of 
Nestane, originally a ptoliethron of heroic times, then a 
fortress guarding the pass into Arcadia, and afterwards 
one of the komse, or villages, among which the inha- 



bitants of Mantinea were distributed by Agesipolis after 
the capture of that city. The temple of Demeter, which 
he places ' after the ruins/ was perhaps that of which the 
foundations are still apparent, venerable for its antiquity 
rather than its size or splendour. The fountain by which 
we breakfasted was the Philippion. The ruins which Pau- 
sanias calls those of Philip's tent were perhaps the remains 
of a heroum on the lower level, dedicated to Philippus, a 
mythic personage, whose memory was swallowed up in 
the notoriety of his historical namesake. It may be that 
the Macedonian really did encamp here. If on the very 
threshold of Arcadia he found a heroum of Philippus, he 
would certainly make the most of so happy an omen. 
The land called that of Maira is probably the ground in 
front of the hill over which our road passes, which, 
though not divided by any hill from the Argon, is on a 
somewhat higher level, and would afford a dry road 
all the year round. It is clear that Pausanias visits 
Nestane on his way from the Prinus to Mantinea, without 
any intimation that he diverges from the main road. 

That this road passed by Tzipiana is, I conceive, 
certain. There is no pass to the southward which could 
be called a way from Argolis to Mantinea, in contra- 
distinction from the roads to Tegea; indeed, so far as my 
information went, there is no pass whatever southward of 
this over Artemisium practicable for horses. The pass 
from Karya to Tzipiana corresponds in every respect to 
the Prinus. Now, while Mantinea is about four miles 
north-west of Tzipiana, Nestane, in Colonel Leake's map, 
is placed nearly six miles to the south of it — which by 
no means squares to the author's words. If it had been 


in that position it would have been described on the 
road between Mantinea and Tegea. According to his 
map, the Argon is drained by the river Ophia, whose kata- 
bothra are on the opposite side of the plain — in direct 
contradiction of the inference to be drawn from Pausanias's 
statement that the water re-appeared at Deine in Argolis. 
Pausanias, as we have seen, mentions ' another plain/ which 
Colonel Leake supposes to be the part of the plain south 
of Tzipiana, if I understand his meaning. But this plain 
does not lie in the road from his Nestane to Mantinea. 
Moreover, in this plain is a fountain which is said to be 
two stades 1 from Mantinea. No part of the plain below 
Tzipiana is less than three miles from that city. By the 
' other plain/ therefore, I understand Pausanias to mean 
the plain of Mantinea itself. 

The ' hill of no great height' mentioned by Pausanias, 
is the shoulder of Alesium, on descending which is a 
fountain by the wayside, which, if ' twelve stades ' be the 
right reading, may be the fountain Arne, as that is about 
its distance from the walls of Mantinea. 

On the slope of this same hill is a recess, which must, 
I think, have been the upper end of the stadium, though 
the plough has levelled so completely the artificial 
mounds which projected to form the two sides, that it is 

1 The MSS. and Edd. here give diro t^s yrjs Tavrrjs, hut obviously 
it should be airb rrjs nrjyrjs ravrrjs. A various reading gives ( 1 2 
stades ;' but even if this he the true reading, it will not make the con- 
clusions of Colonel Leake meet the text of Pausanias. I may also 
mention that vTrepfias ov ttoKv is not properly translated by ' proceeding 
a little further' (Leake's Jforea, iii. 48), but as I have rendered it, 
' after crossing a hill of no great height.' 

K 2 


no wonder it should have passed unobserved. I should 
not have seen it, but that the semicircular slope, too 
steep for the plough, was green with grass, while the 
ground above and below was in furrow. Be this as it 
may, Pausanias's words show that it was somewhere 
outside the walls, and thus contradict a rash assertion 
made by Forchammer, in his pamphlet on the Topography 
of Athens, to the effect that the stadium was always 
within the walls. His object is to prove that the Pan- 
athenaic stadium was inside the walls of Athens, which in 
my opinion it certainly was not. His reason for advo- 
cating this view, is simply that Colonel Leake had 
already established the opposite. Colonel Leake proceeds 
on the old-fashioned plan of observing his facts and 
collecting his authorities before framing his theory. 
Forchammer adopts the reverse process. ' Facts/ says 
an English proverb, ' are stubborn things/ I wonder if 
there be a corresponding proverb in German. 

To return to Mantinea. Anything more desolate than 
the site of this famous city cannot be conceived. A flat, 
treeless, marshy plain extends on all sides to the foot of 
bare mountains. The streams are ditches where the 
waters, filled with noxious creatures, stagnate rather than 
flow. The original site of the city, we are told, was on 
a hill of no great elevation, which retained the name of 
Ptolis. There is such a hill to the northward, not far 
from the walls, with a church and a few trees upon it. 
Why the Mantineans abandoned the old, and to all ap- 
pearance more eligible site, and why they did not retain 
the old city for the Acropolis of the new, are questions 
we have no means of answering. The walls were built 


originally of unbaked brick, with probably, in parts only 
a single course of stone at the basement; and a river, the 
Ophis, ran through the city. The Spartan king Agesi- 
polis, in the year 385 b.c, stopped the course of the 
river, and thus flooding the country to a depth above the 
height of the stone basement, sapped the walls. From 
which, says Xenophon, 1 men learned not to have a river 
flowing through fortifications. His narrative gives to 
Agesipolis credit for having originally conceived this 
method of assault ; but Pausanias, who probably by im- 
plication refers to Xenophon, says that Cimon had already 
employed it against Eion on the Strymon, and that the 
Spartan only imitated an established and notorious plan. 
As against the ordinary engines employed by besieging 
armies it was found that unbaked brick offered a better 
resistance than stone, just as we have lately discovered 
that earth-works are better than granite walls against the 
engines of besiegers in our day. When the city was 
rebuilt, the river seems to have been diverted and divided 
into two streams, one on each side. 2 At the point of 
junction, some little distance from the city, towards the 
south-east, are the foundations of a tower or fort. Colonel 
Leake has gathered from the words of Xenophon 3 that 

1 Xen. Hellen. v. 2, 7. 

* The course of the streams about Mantinea is marked differently 
in the French map, in that of Curtius and in that of Colonel Leake. 
Not one of them corresponds with my observations. In this alluvial 
soil, liable as it is to constant inundation, changes may be very fre- 
quent and very speedy. 

3 Hellen. 1. c. — ao^aTtpcov yevofjLevav ravrr) ye rwu dvdponrtov, to 


the principal river of the plain had been artificially 
diverted from its course in order that it might flow 
through the old city; but I do not think that the passage 
necessarily conveys this meaning, and it is highly impro- 
bable that, suffering already from a superfluity of moisture, 
they should have brought another river within their walls, 
at the risk, too, of increasing the fatal miasma, which has 
of late desolated, and must always have infected the dis- 
trict. The streams which are now so insignificant would 
then be considerably increased by systematic drainage of 
the neighbouring land, and when combined would form a 
river large enough to produce the result attributed to it. 
"When under the auspices of Epaminondas the jNIan- 
tineans returned from their villages, they built the walls 
on their former site. The local attachment so powerful 
among Greeks, 1 the veneration for the temples and altars, 
and the claims of families to the sites and ruins of the 
former houses, would all combine to induce them not to 
build a new city, but rebuild the old ; and the presence of 
polygonal masonry in the walls and theatre tends to 
confirm this supposition. The same is implied in the 
language of Pausanias, who tells us, that after the sur- 
render of the city some small part of it was still left in 

firj 8ia retx^v 7TOTafxov noie'io-dai. Mr. Grote discusses the question (vol. 
x. p. 49). The old reading is t<5 /xj), k.t.X. I am inclined to think 
that the words are not Xenophon's, but the c inept comment' of some 
scholiast, which has crept in by accident, or been interpolated de- 
signedly. The sentiment and expression are more like Polyaenus than 

&>$• 8ftv6v rj (^iXo^copt'a. — Aristoph. Tespce, 834. 



possession of the old inhabitants, 1 and the others, after 
their dispersion, were restored lig rrjv warpida after the 
battle of Leuctra. In one of the temples he saw a statne 
of iEsculapius, the work of Alcamenes. Now Alcamenes 
was a pupil of Phidias, and cannot be supposed to have 
survived the restoration of the Mantineans, in 370 b.c. 
Near the theatre, too, was the v so-called common 
hearth, of a circular form/ on the spot said to be the 
grave of Antinoe, daughter of Kepheus. The place 
thus traditionally holy was surely included in the walls 
of the older city ; and its existence would alone coun- 
terbalance in their eyes any practical advantages offered 
by a new site. Taught by experience, the Mantineans 
reconstructed their walls in a new method. They made 
the stone basement at least three courses high, and 
upon this they built their superstructure of unburnt 
brick. So much, at least, is probable from the appear- 
ance of the wall, which would scarcely have been ruined 
so regularly otherwise. In some few places, however, I 
found four and even five courses of stone, but, as a 
general rule, there are only three. 

At the gates the walls overlap each other, so that the 
approach is by a passage, from both sides of which the 
assailants would be liable to attack in their turn. This 
is the same system of defence which was adopted at 
Mycenae, Tiryns, and other ancient cities. Perhaps in 
this case it was copied immediately from the ruins of 

1 Mr. Grote seems to have overlooked this distinct statement of 
Pausanias when he with great acuteness deduces the fact from a 
comparison of Xenophon and Strabo (vol. x. p. 5 1 , note). 


Nestane. At Mantinea it is still further elaborated by 
another wall in the shape of a gnomon, built from the 
inner, and covering the outer of the two walls which form 
the gateway. 

Within the circuit are many foundations, but none that 
can be assigned to any particular edifice except the theatre, 
which, judging from the polygonal work of which it in 
great part consists, may have belonged to the older city. 
I say ' may have belonged/ because there is reason to 
think that the Greeks continued occasionally to employ 
polygonal work long after the regular courses of squared 
stones had become the style generally adopted. This is a 
point which I shall recur to hereafter. Colonel Leake 
says that the diameter of the theatre was about 240 feet. 
We measured it along the ruins of the stage wall, and 
found it 150 feet only. A line at right-angles from the 
centre of this wall to the outer wall of the cavea measured 
160 feet. This is, I think, the only instance in which we 
repeated a measurement made by him without verifying 
its exactness. 

The only living thing we saw at Mantinea was a pea- 
sant who brought with him a dead thing in the shape of 
a wild duck, which, being purchased by the cook, furnished 
forth our dinner at Tripolitza. Towards this, our destined 
halting-place, we took our way as the evening approached, 
first over flat, marshy ground with corn-fields and fallows ; 
then, as the level rises towards the westward hills, between 
vineyards, each with its wine-press in the corner and 
divided by hedgerows from its neighbours. About half- 
way, and opposite to a projecting spur of the mountain, I 
observed the remains of a transverse wall, apparently 


ancient. It may have been a defensive work along the 
boundary line of the Mantinean territory. 

As Belgium has been called the cock-pit of Europe, so 
this plain may be termed the cock-pit of the Peloponnese. 
Occupied by comparatively feeble states, which never 
united for common defence, Mantinea and Tegea, it lay 
between two powerful and always hostile countries, Argos 
and Sparta. Its fertility tempted the avarice of its 
neighbours, while its flatness, admirably suited for a battle- 
field, stimulated their pugnacity. It was the constant 
habit of the Spartans, confident of success in a fair field, 
to march out hither and offer battle to their enemies. 
Accordingly even the fragmentary history which has come 
down to us records no less than five pitched battles in 
this place, in which they were engaged. There were, no 
doubt, many other fights of which no record has been 
kept, and forays innumerable. Two of these battles are 
interesting above all the others, because they were fought 
in the best times of Greece, and have been recorded by 
two of her best historians, themselves respectively con- 
temporaries of the event. The first was fought in the 
year 418 b.c, by the Spartans against the Argives, Man- 
tineans, and Athenians, and is related by Thucydides 
(b. v. c. 64) ; the second was between Epaminondas, with 
his Thebans and the allied army of Spartans, Mantiueans, 
and Athenians, and is related by Xenophon. 1 

1 Sell. b. vii. c. j. — In Mr. Grote's excellent narrative of this 
battle (vol. x. p. 462, sqq.) there is one passage which calls for some 
remark. Speaking of the mustering of Epaminondas's troops at Tegea, 
and their enthusiastic spirit, he says, ' Even the rustic and half- 
armed Arcadian villagers, who had nothing but clubs in place of 


Colonel Leake's elaborate narrative of these battles 
leaves nothing to be desired. The historian and the topo- 

sword or spear, were eager to share the dangers of the Thebans, and 
inscribed upon their shields (probably notbing but miserable squares 
of wood) the Theban ensign.' The words of Xenophon, upon which 
this statement is founded, are these — iiveypaqbovTo be <a\ twv Kpnabav 
07rXirat poiraka e^ovres cos Qrjfiaioi ovres, which Mr. Grote comments 
upon in his note thus : ' There seems a sort of sneer in these latter 
words, both at the Arcadians and Thebans. The Arcadian club-men 
are called 677-Xn-ai, and are represented as passing themselves off to be 
as good as Thebans. Sievers and Dr. Thirlwall follow Eckhel in 
translating this passage to mean that ' the Arcadian hoplites inscribed 
upon their shields the figure of a club, that being the ensign of the 
Thebans.' I cannot think this interpretation is the best — at least 
until some evidence is produced that the Theban symbol on the 
shield was a club.' 

I also doubt whether any such evidence can be produced, and, pace 
tantorum virorum, I question whether the Greek words will bear 
such an interpretation. Neither, on the other hand, can I agree 
with Mr. Grote in the sense which he has extracted from the text. I 
do not think that any sneer is intended at the Arcadians, who cer- 
tainly did not deserve to be sneered at. The Arcadian hoplites 
serving under Epaminondas were genuine hoplites — some of the most 
formidable troops in Greece — and armed as such. These probably 
consisted chiefly of citizens of Tegea, for at this time the great 
majority of the mountain Arcadians were siding with Mantinea. 
(See on this point Xenophon, vii. 5> 16 ; and Mr. Grote himself, vol. 
x. p. 452.) The change of a single letter in the Greek text will 
dispose at one blow of the Theban ensign, the club, and of the 
rustic and half-armed Arcadian villagers. For poiraka e-^ovres read 
pona\a e'xovras. The meaning will then be, 'the Arcadian hoplites 
painted on their shields the figures of men with clubs in their hands,' 
that is to say, figures of Hercules, which was, of course, the favourite 
symbol of Theban soldiers. His club is properly called poirakov. 
(Paus. ii. 31,13: Suidas, s. v.) Pindar (01. ix. 30) calls it o-kvtoKov, 
contemptuously, ' a mere wooden staff,' a weapon ill-matched with 
the trident of Poseidon. 


grapher, compared and interpreted by his local knowledge, 
make the site of each battle certain. The first was at the 
foot of the hills to the south-east of the city, on ground 
which we crossed in approaching it ; the second was about 
five miles further south on the road to Tegea, on ground 
which we crossed after leaving it. 

A third battle, related byPolybius, in which the Achseans 
completely defeated the degenerated Spartans, took place on 
the site of the first after an interval of two hundred and 
twelve years. The trophy was still standing in the time of 
Pausanias. The Spartans had never recovered sufficient 
strength to destroy it, else they would, in conformity with 
the general practice, assuredly have done so. The erection 
of a trophy was not undertaken with a vain hope of perpe- 
tuating the memory of the field, but as the recognised legal 
mode of asserting a victory. If either party could erect a 
trophy at their leisure, it was a proof that they had re- 
mained in undisturbed possession of the field. They had 
sufficient religious feeling and good taste not to disturb the 
tomb of Epaminondas, though probably a mere cenotaph, 
which was erected on the spot of the melee in which he 
was mortally wounded. I should rather believe the place 
called Scope, whither he was carried to die, to be one of 
the eminences in the plain of which there are several 
commanding an extensive view, and not the rugged spur 
of mountain which has already been mentioned as pro- 
jecting into the plain. They would hardly carry a dying 
man so far from the field, and up so rough a path. Indeed, 
as the spot where Epaminondas was wounded is said to 
be thirty stades beyond the point where the road to 
Pallantium diverged from the road to Tegea, it must, if 


we accept Colonel Leake's view as to the position of 
Pallantium, have been considerably nearer to Tegea. 
About opposite to the projecting spur which has been 
called Scope, the road to Pallantium would naturally 
branch off. There are few spots which one would feel 
more pleasure in identifying than this. A far livelier 
interest is excited by all that is associated with the story 
of one famous man, than by that which is only connected 
with a host of nameless units. 

The central part of the plain was in old times occupied 
by a wood of oak and cork trees, of which there is now 
not even ' one where a thousand stood/ It had been 
prophesied to Epaminondas that Pelagos would be fatal to 
him. Supposing that the god used Pelagos in its ordinary 
sense of ' Ocean/ he took care never to embark in a naval 
expedition, nor even to sail as a passenger in a merchant 
ship. But he knew not that the oak forest between 
Mantinea and Tegea was called Pelagos. Pausanias 
mentions other examples of prophecies, which kept the 
word of threatening to the ear and broke it to the 
expectation, and says that one might find many such. 
Truly one might. ' In that Jerusalem shall Harry die/ 

About nightfall we reached Tripolitza. We were 
lodged in a khan, which, if we did not know that Ibrahim 
Pasha had destroyed every house in the place — naTtfiaXtv 
lg t^a(f)og ) according to a too common practice in ancient 
Greek warfare — one might suppose to be a relic of Turkish 
civilization, being built quite on the eastern model. It 
surrounds three sides of a little court ; a wall half the 
height, with a large door in the middle, occupies the 
fourth side, that towards the street. The khan is two 


stories high ; the ground-floor is tenanted by the ' Irra- 
tionals/ as the men of those parts in their preposterous 
self-complacency designate horses ; the upper floor, round 
which runs a wooden gallery, is divided into rooms for 
travellers. The Tabard inn at Southwark and, I fancy, the 
inn at Gadshill must have been constructed on much the 
same plan, with the addition of a common room for supper 
and a kitchen. Neither of these exists in a khan. Con- 
stantine made his fire on a flat stone in the first unoccu- 
pied corner he could find, and we consumed the results of 
his art between four bare walls in an adjoining room. 



TTTHEN in the year of grace T388 Messire Jean Froissart 
and the Sieur Espaing de Lyon, ' en chevauchant 
ensemble/ arrived at the town of Casseres, the historian 
relates that, while the varlets of the hostelry were getting 
supper ready, Sir Espaing said to him, ' Allons, Messire 
Jean, allons voir la ville.' To which the historian replied, 
( Je vuenV The same remarkable proposal was made, with 
the same result, by one English traveller to another after 
coffee at the khan of Tripolitza on the morning of the 
22nd of April, a.d. 1856. 

But in truth there is very little to see. The houses 
are built without any regard to beauty, or even regularity, 
in that mean, hasty, make-shift style which characterizes 
all the growing towns in Greece, except the more recent 
quarters of Athens. There is a dismantled fortress on an 
eminence, with crumbling earthworks and two rusty guns 
— round about it may be traced by fragments the line of 
the Turkish wall, and within its circuit heaps of brick and 
mortar show that the town was twice as large then as now. 
Indeed, it was the capital of the Morea and the residence 
of the Pasha. Many places might have been found with 
a milder climate, a more salubrious air, and more beautiful 
environs, but none so central; and a Turkish governor 
lives in the centre of his province for precisely the same 


reason that a spider lives in the centre of his web. His 
power to do mischief hangs upon as frail a thread — a 
breath may sweep it away ; and he hastes, while there is 
yet time, to gorge himself upon the poor, helplessly-im- 
meshed creatures within his reach. 

By one of those violent oscillations to which public 
opinion is subject in England — a free (and easy) press 
swinging the pendulum — the ardent Philhellenism of thirty 
years since has given place to a pettish discontent with 
the people we have helped to free, having made the 
astounding discovery that they sympathize with those 
who profess the same faith, the Russians, and hate the 
Alahommedans who oppressed them, and still oppress 
their brethren. It may be said that the Greeks ought 
to see that the Western Powers are bound by good faith 
and good policy not to precipitate the ruin of the Turkish 
empire, and that their self-styled friends on the Neva are 
not seeking the freedom of the Greek people, but the 
aggrandizement of the Russian throne. On the other 
hand, history and experience show that the traditions and 
teaching of centuries utterly fail in indoctrinating any 
people with far-reaching and prudential views. The freest 
and most truthful and most enlightened nations of the 
earth are purblind and passionate. Remote contingencies 
and a policy of expectation neither move popular sym- 
pathies nor rouse popular enthusiasm. It is unreasonable 
to demand this higher wisdom from the Greeks, whose 
experience of liberty and political action is so short, in 
whose minds the recollection of wrongs is so fresh, for 
whom bigotry is identical with patriotism, and hatred of 
their nearest neighbour a Christian duty. So long as the 
Turkish empire remains between them, so long will Greece 


stretch out her arms to Russia as her special enemy's 
special enemy ; when the barrier is down, she will learn 
to dread her deliverer and avenger. Meanwhile let us not 
quarrel with an inevitable result of circumstance — let us 
not be unjust — let us not be harsh in exaggerating the 
faults of the Greeks, nor forget or palliate the atrocities 
of the rule from which the race has been in part delivered. 
Before Greece was freed, and while the domination of the 
Turks was as yet unchecked by Christian ambassadors and 
uutempered by Christian consuls, their rule was one long 
outrage on humanity. It is not too much to say that in 
each Pashalik the objects and methods of government 
might be summed up in the words — centralized oppression, 
legalized injustice, and systematized plunder. The inhabi- 
tants of the Morea had a terrible account of wrong-doing 
to settle when they revolted. They were centuries in 
arrear of vengeance. When we read that at the capture 
of Tripolitza in 182 t the Greeks committed atrocities 
such as the revolted Sepoys committed at Delhi, 1 we must 

1 ' The conquerors, mad with vindictive rage, spared neither age 
nor sex. Inflamed as the insurgents were hy the remembrance of a 
long bondage, as well as by recent injuries, it was too natural for 
them, in the first moments of victory, to wreak their vengeance on the 
Moslems ; but their insatiable cruelty knew no bounds, and seemed to 
inspire them with a superhuman energy for evil, which set lassitude 
at defiance. Every corner was ransacked to discover new victims, 
and the unhappy Jewish population (even more than the Turks objects 
of fanatical hatred) expired amidst torments which we dare not 
describe.' — Gordon's History of the Greek Revolution, vol. i. p. 254. 

The Jews, on their part, had always been willing instruments of 
Turkish oppression. Very recently they had dragged the body of the 
murdered Patriarch, with foul indignities, through the streets of 


remember the real wrongs they had suffered, while those 
pampered praetorians had not the shadow of a grievance 
to complain of. The Greeks inflicted punishment on 
their enemies, as I hope before these pages are published 
we shall have inflicted punishment upon ours. Only may 
the deed be done not, like "theirs, in wild wrath, but in 
solemn sadness, that the sword may fall only upon guilty 
heads. Else, so far as our revenge shall exceed the bounds 
of justice, so surely will there come a recoil and a retri- 
bution, such as befel the Greeks at Tripolitza. Years 
afterwards Ibrahim vowed to leave no living thing within 
the walls of the city, and endeavoured to fill up the mea- 
sure of his still unsated vengeance by wreaking it on the 
very stones. 

Bad as the government of Greece may be, it yet offers 
tolerable, and in the Morea perfect, security for life and 
property. If feeble and corrupt, it is neither rapacious 
nor cruel. The Morea of to-day is a very Eden compared 
with the Morea of forty years ago. Everywhere fresh 
land is being reclaimed from the waste, and made by irri- 
gation to produce cereals, instead of salvia and cistus. 
The plough is retracing furrows which have lain fallow 
for centuries, and the water runs again along steep hill- 
sides in rocky channels, perhaps originally hewn by the 
Helot for his Spartan master. But though the govern- 
ment is incomparably superior to its predecessor, and has 
been vilified over-much by writers who took no account of 
extenuating circumstances, it merits as little the eulogies 
of the few remaining enthusiasts whose Philhellenism is 
proof against disenchantment. I have been assured on 
high authority that the development of agriculture has 


been much thwarted by misgovernment and the fraudulent 
transfer or reckless alienation of the vast estates 'which 
on the expulsion of the Turks were vested in the Crown. 
For instance, the land, instead of being sold in fixed lots, 
has been parcelled out to suit the interests of this person 
or that, so that some favoured courtier or formidable ' Pal- 
licare' gets a grant of a strip commanding all the water, 
which ought to have been common, and without which 
the rest of the tract is valueless. Another hindrance is 
said to be the vexatious mode of collecting rent and taxes. 
A certain per-centage is paid upon the crop, and the corn 
of each district has to be brought to the capital town, to 
be threshed under the eye of the government-collector — a 
system involving much cost and long delay. I remember 
that the temple of Jupiter at Athens was encumbered for 
weeks with piles of sheaves waiting their turn. 

All this may be, indeed is, true. So much the more 
credit is due to the patient and industrious people who 
have achieved such results in the face of such obstacles. 
The improvement is, perhaps, not what it would have 
been under more favourable conditions, but it is impossible 
to deny that it has been absolutely great. The traveller 
cannot fail to see signs of progress everywhere, though no 
statistical proof can be given. Ponqueville's estimate of 
the agricultural produce of the country, prefixed to General 
Gordon's Historij and compiled in 1814, must be in great 
part guess-work ; and were it ever so accurate, I am not 
aware that any recent tables have been published, by which 
a comparison might be instituted. In default of these, we 
have the annual receipts of the exchequer, and the census 
periodically made and published by government authority. 


If the revenue returns show no signs of increase now, it 
must be the result of collusion between producer and col- 
lector. It is a remarkable fact, for which I cannot account, 
that, notwithstanding the growing prosperity of the country, 
the population shows hardly any perceptible increase ; and 
yet the returns of the census are not liable to the same 
suspicion as those of taxable produce, for the ' Turkish 
kharatch, or poll-tax, has not been continued in Greece. 
In our own country we have a proof that agricultural pro- 
duce may increase while the rural population is stationary 
or even diminishing ; but this result is due to high farming 
and large farming j neither of which can be looked for in 
Greece, where, as a general rule, the peasant proprietor 
cultivates his own fields. 

We did not leave Tripolitza till eleven o'clock; too late, 
as we found to our cost, for the day's work before us. 
An hour's ride brought us to faleo-Episcope; the seat, as 
the name imports, of an ancient bishopric, which was 
afterwards transferred to Mouchli, a Byzantine city on 
Mount Parthenium, near the direct road between Tripo- 
litza and Argos. This bishopric was officially called, in 
the ignorant pedantry which characterized the Byzantines, 
the bishopric of A my else — a source of error the more fruitful 
inasmuch as the town afterwards called Paleo-Episcope 
was formerly called Nicli, and when deserted by the 
Greeks, was made by the Latins the seat of one of their 
sees. Buchon, in his first edition of the Greek Chronicle 
of the Conquest, confounded Nicli with Mouchli, and 
supposed it to be close to Sparta, commending all the 
while his author's perfect knowledge of the geography of 
the Morea, and not giving a hint of the insuperable 

L 2 


difficulties introduced by his own interpretation. As the 
Latins never elsewhere in Greece gave to one of their 
sees a name preoccupied by the Greeks, it is probable 
that the Greek see had been removed to Mouchli, either 
before or immediately after the Latin conquest of Nicli. 
It was besieged and taken by Guillaume de Champlitte, in 
1205. The walls, about two-thirds of a mile in circuit, 
are, as described in the Chronicle, very strong with 
cement. After the completion of the conquest it was 
the seat of one of twelve barons, among whom, in 
imitation of Charlemagne and the Douzepairs, the Prince 
of Achaia divided the peninsula. Here, too, the Frank 
ladies met for counsel and comfort when the news came 
of the death or capture of their husbands at the battle of 
Pelagonia, in 1259. 

The ruins of Nicli stand on part of the site of 
ancient Tegea, of which not so much as a ruin remains. 
Various fragments, however, and inscriptions found here 
and at a church about a mile off, called Aio Sosti, 
leave no doubt of the fact. All around is the fair 
plain, which a lying oracle promised to the Spartans. 1 
The general level of the ground is lower than at Tripo- 
litza, but diversified by dwarf hills, or rather undulations, 
which must have facilitated drainage, and must have 
freed the Tegeans from the fear of the complete submer- 
sion which accident or malice could inflict upon their 
neighbours at Mantinea. The soil is alluvial and deep ; 
so fertile indeed, that it was worth while to cultivate it 
even in the immediate vicinity of a Pasha. Hence the 

1 Herodotus, i. 27. 


entire disappearance of the old city. In the expanse of 
green corn-fields not a fragment appears above ground of 
the large and populous place which for so many centuries 
occupied the site. The church of Paleo-Episcope itself 
must be an interesting ruin to those who are occupied 
with ecclesiastical and not classical antiquities. It is 
anterior to the Frank conquest, and of course in the 
shape of a Greek cross, and has had four domed aisles, 
and four cupolas at the corners. The walls are very 
strong. Three courses of brick with thick layers of 
mortar intervene between each course of stones. In 
them are embedded not only Pagan fragments, but 
Christian also, showing that there has been an earlier 
church on the spot. These latter consist of marble, with 
crosses and other emblems, a leaf, seven stars, &c, carved 
in the rude low relief which is characteristic of Byzantine 
work in all periods — in strong contrast to some portions 
of an Hellenic frieze with foliage, executed in the bold 
free manner indicative of the best times. There are also 
some triglyphs and guttse, all in white marble, which may 
have been part of the temple of Athene, and are certainly 
relics of the ancient city. Some small Doric columns, 
fourteen inches in diameter, may be referred to the 
same period, while a row of unfluted columns built into 
the wall probably belonged to the former church, which 
doubtless got its abundant marbles from the ruins of 
Tegea. In one of the aisles I found a slab of marble 
twenty-two inches long by ten wide, with the following 
inscription nearly perfect : ^wmpi /ecu ot/ctory avroKparopi 
ASptavip OXvuttho. It seems that Hadrian had included 
Tegea among the cities which in his Philhellenic and anti- 


quarian zeal he restored arid adorned, and the Tegeans 
repaid him by bestowing upon him the title of ' Founder/ 
which belonged to Tegeates, and the epithets of ' Saviour' 
and ' Olympian/ which were the attributes of Zeus. 
There is also a cippus, with the inscription : kuWikoi 

The most famous of the buildings of Tegea was the 
temple of Athene- Alea, the sanctuary attached to which 
was hedged round by an immemorial reverence, which made 
it inviolable. Hence in history we frequently find that 
detected criminals and unlucky politicians fled hither for 
refuge. The epithet ' Alea ' probably means ' Defender/ 
' Protector/ though the word had been long obsolete, and 
Avas supposed to come, after the summary fashion of 
Greek etymologies, from one Aleus, the original founder. 

There was a city near Stymphalus called Alea, where 
Athene was worshipped under the same invocation. In 
this case the city probably derived its name, and perhaps 
its existence, from the temple. 1 There was also a temple 
and sanctuary of the same name near Sparta.- The most 
ancient of the temples at Tegea had been superseded by a 
new and beautiful structure, which was burnt down in the 
year 394 b.c, 3 when the Tegeans employed Scopas of 
Paros, a famous sculptor as well as architect, to rebuild it. 
It was ' by far the most splendid of all the temples of 
Peloponnese, both in size and construction/ By f con- 

1 Paus. viii. 23, 1. * Xen. Sell. vi. c. 5. 

vcrrepa) e'rei rrjs eKTrjs <a\ ivevrjKocrTrjs '0\v/j.Tnd8os. i. e. ill the 
second year of the ninety-sixth olympiad, not ' first year.' as Colonel 
Leake translates it. — Paus. viii. 4^, 3. 


struction ' is meant both materials and workmanship, as 
may be inferred from a passage where the author says, 
the temple of Bassse excelled in both these points all 
others except that of Athene at Tegea. 

Now, as the temple of Bassse was of the finest lime- 
stone, with a frieze whose material may be ascertained by 
a visit to the British Museum, the temple at Tegea had 
probably not only its frieze, but its columns also, of 
white marble, the wall of the cella and the roof being 
of stone. Had it been all marine, Pausanias would 
scarcely have omitted his familiar words : XiBov Xevkov. 
Marble seems to have been no rarity in the Tegean 
temples ; but none of the fragments of columns hitherto 
brought to light are on a scale large enough to have 
belonged to the peristyle of Athene. The words of Pau- 
sanias leave it ambiguous what style they were. He says, 1 
' The first order of its columns is Dorian, the next Co- 
rinthian, and there stand also outside the temple columns 
of Ionic workmanship/ Colonel Leake infers, from these 
words, that the columns within the cella were of the Doric 
order, ' though for what reason Pausanias could have 
described this order as ' the first ' it seems difficult to 
understand; by the words kir\ rourw — ' above this order/ 
he probably meant an upper range of small columns sup- 
porting the roof, like those still existing at Paestum/ 
The words zktoq tov vaov, being elsewhere used to describe 
the peristyle of the temple at Olympia, Colonel Leake 
supposes must mean the same here. 

1 6 p.ev 8rj irpaiTos icrriv avra Koafios rav Kiovatv Aapios 6 Se eVi 
tovto) KopivBios' ecTTTjKacri 8e <a\ euros roi vaov Kioves ipyaa'ias rrjs 
'Idwav. — Paus. viii. 45, 4. 



The first difficulty, I think, is utterly insurmountable ; 
in the second place, the words kir\ tovtw, taken in conjunc- 
tion with TrpCoToq, mean, not l above/ ' on the top of/ but 
' next in order/ as Colonel Leake before translated them. 
They are used a hundred times in the same sense by the 
author. The whole difficulty, as it seems to me, would 
be removed by the alteration of a single letter in the 
text. If we read svtoq, ' inside/ for £ktoq, ' outside/ 
all is clear. Then the orders follow in succession as they 
presented themselves to the eyes of the visitor. The outside 
peristyle was Doric ; the columns in antis before the 
Pronaos were Corinthian, and the interior columns sup- 
porting the ceiling were Ionic. 

To return for a moment from this conjectural temple 
to extant reality, the old church which I have described 
stands upon an artificial basement of stone, which appears 
to be curvilinear not rectangular. Is it possible that this 
is part of the cavea of the theatre ? A few hours' work 
at excavation would ascertain the fact. 

Leaving Tegea, we found the baggage waiting for us 
at the entrance of the defile called Saranda Potamous, 
or ' the Forty Rivers/ ( Forty ' is commonly used to 
designate some indefinitely large number, and ' Saranda ' 
is derived from the Greek TearnpaKovra, by the sup- 
pression of the first syllable, the coalescence of the third 
and fourth, and the conversion of / after n into d. 
This last is a frequent change in modern Greek. They 
say, for instance, pe.nde, not pente, for ' five/ The f forty 
rivers ' here mean the many streams which in winter 
run down from the hills to feed the main river, the 
ancient Alpheus, which, at the entrance to the plain of 


Tegea, 1 falls into one of the chasms so frequent in this 
region. Pausanias takes occasion here to relate the sub- 
sequent fortunes of this wonderful stream. He says, that 
it, or rather he, rose again at Alea, joined the Eurotas in 
another subterranean tour, parted company, and rising 
again, flowed into the sea by Elis, ' whence, undeterred 
by the Adriatic and the wide and wild ocean, he swims 
across, and in Ortygia before Syracuse proves himself to 
be Alpheus, and mingles his stream with Arethusa.' 
How he proved his identity does not appear; but it was 
such a proof as to leave no doubt on the mind of the 
narrator. In flood-time the chasm is not capacious 
enough to receive the torrents which then inundate the 
neighbouring fields. When we passed, however, there 
was but a scanty thread of water, so that the bed of the 
river was for many miles our road, for some distance rough 
with rocks, where the defile was narrow and the banks 
high overhead ; but further on changing to a smooth ex- 
panse of sand as the banks receded and beetling crags 
gave place to corn-growing slopes with tracts of pasture- 
ground above and here and there a white hamlet far 
away on the mountain side. 

In about two hours we reached Krya Vrysis, where, at 
the junction of two river beds, is a cold fountain (icpva. 
fipvaig), which gives the place its name. A solitary 

1 Pausanias's words are e'y to -rrehlov narehv to Teyearucop (viii. 54, 
2). The genuineness of this passage has heen doubted by Colonel 
Leake, as I think, without sufficient cause. The Karafiodpou is situated 
just where the mountains end and the comparatively level country 
begins : irebiov is here used in that wider sense, and the name of the 
chief town in the neighbourhood is naturally given to the district. 


house stands by the spring. On the bank of the stream 
are some huge trunks of plane-trees all charred by fires, 
which in wantonness or mischief have been kindled, 
inside. This is probably the spot which Pausanias calls 
Symbola — Confluence — Coblentz. After staying here an 
hour for rest and refreshment, we remounted and bent 
our course up a valley to the left hand ; after which we 
came to a wild open country with scattered oaks and 
plane-trees ; then passed through a narrow defile, aptly 
called ' to steno/ where we thought we discerned the 
wheel-marks of an ancient road. About sunset we came 
to some beautiful park-like slopes of green grass with 
clumps of trees and shrubs, principally arbutus and ilex. 
It soon became dark, and in the glen through which our 
path lay not a ray of starlight penetrated. "We felt, 
though we could not see, that the path was steep and 
broken. There was of course nothing for it but to let 
bur horses grope their way as best they might. On such 
occasions man is forced to acknowledge the superiority of 
the quadruped, whose reasoning faculties have not been 
developed to the prejudice of his instinct. Thanks to 
this instinct, we came at last to the khan of Krevata, a 
lonely house on the hill-side, where we were to pass the 
night. The c irrationals ' and the uninstinctives, except 
myself and my friend, were accommodated on the ground- 
floor; the upper-floor, accessible by a ladder and trap-door, 
was reserved for us. This chamber was provided with 
a flat stone by way of fireplace, but no chimney. A 
square hole in the wall served both for chimney and 
window. The night being cold, and the walls damp, 
we ventured on the experiment of a fire of green 


wood, which added to the other ' agrements ' of the 
apartment eddying volumes of pungent smoke. 

Next morning, as we had but a short journey before us, 
we were in no hurry to start, our attendants least of all. 
I sat on the hill-side for an hour in the sun, whose warmth 
in the early morning and at that elevation was very plea- 
sant. Through the valley looking eastward ran a narrow 
stream, the ancient (Enus, along a broad, gravelly bed 
fringed with plane-trees. On the level ground by the 
banks, and on the lower slopes of Mount Parnon beyond, 
were green corn-fields mixed with red, newly-ploughed fal- 
lows; and higher up on the hill-sides pasture grounds dotted 
with white flocks (from which the sound of many tinkling 
sheep-bells came borne upon the wind), interspersed with 
thickets of holly, lentisk, arbutus, and the yellow broom, 
and broken by pinnacles of grey rock. Where the water- 
courses swept down to the valley there ran as it were a 
stream of richer, greener foliage, thickening, widening, 
and deepening as it descended. We were loath to leave 
so beautiful a place, even for the greater beauties in store 
for us. At eight o'clock we set off. Our path, constantly 
ascending, wound through a wood, or rather shrubbery, 
with fresh green leaves ' fulfilled with life and prodigal of 
song/ Now the branches interlacing seemed to bar the 
way, now the thicket opened and left a green glade all 
blazing with scarlet anemones ; while the winding path 
was recessed into many a shady covert starred with shy 
woodland flowers on which the dew lay till noon. A 
jubilant clamour of singing birds — nightingale, thrush, 
linnet — mixed with notes that were unfamiliar, rans: 
round us on all sides. All sights and sounds reminded us 


that we were in the prime of 'scarlet-blossomed spring/ 1 
and recalled and justified the fond epithets which all poets 
of all ages have heaped upon the youth of the year. 

After attaining the summit of the pass, and as one 
descends through winding paths on the western side, 
beauties of quite another kind present themselves. Instead 
of a succession of forest glades and alleys — dainty vignettes 
— we have before us a wide prospect of mountain scenery 
— a panorama on a scale of magnificence which, except 
among the high Alps, cannot be paralleled in Europe. 
And seen in the early spring, when the summits and 
ridges between are still covered with a continuous robe of 
snow, Taygetus presents to the eye and the imagination a 
picture which loses nothing by a comparison with the 
recollections of Mont Blanc or the Oberland of Berne. 
From the main chain, here visible almost from one end 
to the other, huge masses project at regular intervals, 
descending by a succession of precipices to the plain — 
like a great Titanic wall flanked with buttresses and cum- 
bered about its base with immemorial ruin. A rare ver- 
dure clothes the hollows and the slopes between, and at 
the foot stretches the plain of Sparta, green with mulberry, 
olive, maize, and vine, seamed here and there with red scars, 2 
the crumbling earthbanks between which flow the Eurotas 
and its tributaries. 

I find from my journal that this morning's ride, which 

1 (poiviKavdenov rjpos aKpa. Pindar, Pyth. iv. 64. 
This helps one to the true signification of the Homeric koiXtj 
AaKebaifxcov K^rcoeVo-a, and confirms Buttmann's view, that ' Lace- 
dsemon' in the Iliad (ii. 581), and in the Odyssey (iv. 1) refers to 
the country, not the city. 


fills a large space in my memory, so crowded as it was 
with a variety of delightful impressions, only occupied two 
hours. We reached the bank of the Eurotas at ten o'clock, 
and halted for breakfast near the spot where it is spanned 
by a steep and narrow bridge of stone constructed, I believe, 
by the Venetians. The stream is clear, and flows over a 
level, sandy bed, but so shallow that it is difficult to 
find a place to bathe. The deep banks are fringed with 
planes, alders, and oleanders. At a little distance on 
the other side run walls of red and grey rock with black 
weather stains. The steep slope below is dotted with 
wild olive-trees, and clothed with salvias and other 
shrubs, among which a flock of goats is clambering and 
browsing. Our breakfast table was laid in an abandoned 
quarry, where the rock still bore traces of the pickaxe. 
From this place to Sparta it is only an hour's ride. 



rPHE modern Sparta, occupying a small portion of the 
-*- site of the ancient city, is of no older date than the 
modern kingdom of Greece. In the Turkish times the 
principal place of the district was Mistra, at the foot of 
Mount Taygetus, three miles to the westward — a far hetter 
position in a military point of view. When the success of 
the revolution had freed the country from the chronic fear 
and distrust which attend on foreign rulers, the Greek 
government were at liberty to indulge their classical pre- 
dilections, and to make a new Sparta capital of a new 
Laconia. The present town, like its ancient namesake in 
its best days, has no fortifications. The old Sparta owed 
its security to the presence of defenders, the new to the 
absence of assailants. The main street is of great width, 
and might serve an imperial rather than a provincial 
capital, which makes the low mean houses on either side 
look lower and meaner still. There is a church dignified 
by the title of cathedral, and an episcopal palace on a most 
appropriate scale of Spartan and apostolic simplicity ; a 
school which holds 144 boys, and an incipient silk factory. 
We had a letter of introduction to one of the principal 
inhabitants, an eirenodikos — i.e., justice of peace, or rather 
juge de paix, for the judicial as well as administrative 

SPARTA. 159 

system of Greece is imitated from the French. He was 
profuse in civilities and attentions of all sorts. He in- 
sisted upon our going to his house, where he gave us jam 
and coffee ; then escorted us round the town ; then gave us 
jam and coffee again j and, finally, carried us off to call on 
the bishop, where, besides jam and coffee, chibouques were 
brought, after the Turkish fashion. The older Greeks still 
adhere from habit to this and other Oriental usages — the 
younger men ape European ways. The prelate was a 
venerable old man ; not the less venerable, perhaps, from 
the poverty of his dress and the bareness of his dwelling. 
He received us in an old black cap and a tattered brown 
coat lined with moth-eaten fur. 

He asked us many questions, particularly as to the in- 
comes of the English hierarchy. We were half-ashamed 
to tell him. However, through his own blunder or that 
of the justice of peace, who acted as interpreter, he mis- 
took pounds sterling for drachmas, so the sum mentioned 
did not move his astonishment or envy so very much. In 
the staircase of the episcopal residence is an inscription 
purporting that one Memmius repaired at his own cost the 
temple of the Dioscuri Soteres ; — perhaps the temple out- 
side the city, where, as Xenophon says, 1 the 300 hoplites 
lay in ambush on the day when, by their sudden attack, 
they compelled the Thebans under Epaminondas to retreat. 
If the Dioscuri were worshipped there under the title of the 
Soteres, ' Preservers/ it would be a reason, and to ancient 
Greeks a very strong reason, for choosing that position. 
Their history is full of instances proving that superstitious 



feelings constantly influenced strategy. The Athenians, 
who had just experienced at Marathon the manifest 
favour of Hercules, whose precinct they had occupied, 
when they hastened back to Athens to defend the city, 
stationed themselves about the temple of the same hero at 

It is possible, 1 too, that the title msy have been added 
in the ritual to the name Dioscuri in gratitude for the 
service rendered in that season of mortal peril to Sparta — 
the first time her women had ever seen the fires of an in- 
vading foe — as Theseus was said to have set up a statue 
of Artemis Soteira at Trcezen, after his safe return from 

The site of ancient Sparta is an irregular plateau five 
or six miles in circumference, and forty or fifty feet above 
the plain through which the Eurotas flows on the north- 
east side. On the south-east side it is bounded by a 
rivulet which joins the Eurotas, and on the north-west it 
is overlooked by some rough mountain ground, the ex- 
tremity of one of the spurs of Taygetus. On the plateau 
are several ' uneven and hilly places/ to use the words of 
Polybius f the hilly places towards the north, the uneven 
places towards the south. The level space between lies 
east and west in the direction of its length. Of the hilly 
places, the most central is by far the largest and the most 
irregular. Another hill to the east of it looks over the 
plain of the Eurotas, and a third to the north occupies 

1 aarrfpes is, however, a familiar epithet of ' the great twin 
Brethren,' and it is applied to them in the Selena of Euripides, with 
perhaps an especial reference to their worship at Sparta (line 1500). 
2 Polyb. b. v. c. 16. 

BPARTA. 161 

the remotest corner of the plateau towards the spur of 
Taygetus before mentioned. The modern town occupies 
sloping ground on which lay the outskirts of the 
ancient Sparta, towards the south ; the sides of the hills 
and the intervening level are covered with corn, deep and 
luxuriant in April, interrupted here and there by heaps of 
ruin. The principal ruin is the cavea of the theatre ex- 
cavated in the side of the largest hill. The stones are not 
so massive as in some other structures of the same kind, 
but the masonry is excellent ; the theatre itself must have 
been one of the largest in Greece, and there is every 
reason to believe that it dates from the flourishing times 
of Sparta. Under the Roman Empire Sparta would not 
have needed such a place of entertainment, and could not 
have afforded to build it. The stage wall has entirely dis- 
appeared, and in its place are the ruins of what seems to 
be partly Roman partly Byzantine wall — the fragments 
of a continuous line of fortification encircling the largest 
of the hills. This fortification can be traced in its 
irregular course nearly all round, as it follows the natural 
windings of the hill. In some places it is built on Hel- 
lenic foundations, in others pillars and fragments of marble 
are mingled with the bricks and mortar, thus proving that 
it was executed after the city was ruined and decayed. 
Colonel Leake attributes it to the time of Julian. There 
is, however, some reason to doubt whether, in any work of 
his, fragments of antiquity would have been so unscrupu- 
lously used. It bears, I think, the appearance of a work 
of necessity, hastily constructed with such materials as 
came to hand, to provide against an urgent danger rather 
than to indulge a sentimental fancy. It is such a work 


as might have been constructed by Roman soldiers, acting 
under the orders of Valentinian, to protect the scanty 
remnants of the Spartans from the Gothic invaders. 
Julian would have restored the ruined temples and 
theatres, and not used their materials in a military work. 
Indeed, the Chronicle of the French Conquest gives us 
reason to believe that the greater part of the wall is of 
much more recent date, coeval, perhaps, with that of Nidi. 
Like Nicli, Sparta, or, as it was more commonly called, 
Lacedsemonia, was a fortified and inhabited town when the 
French invaders came into the Morea in the beginning of 
the thirteenth century, and was, like it, the seat of a 
bishopric. The Bishop of Lacedsemonia made his sub- 
mission to the conquerors ; and when the country was 
parcelled out according to the system of feudal tenure, he 
received four fiefs, the appanage of a lesser baron. The 
town is called, by a curious corruption, La Cremonie, in 
the French version of the Chronicle. Mistra was built by 
Guillaume de Villehardouin, whose attention had been 
attracted to the greater natural strength of the position, 
in 1250. It was ceded by him to the emperor, as part of 
his ransom, after the disaster of Pelagonia; and the in- 
habitants of Lacedsemonia, preferring to live under the 
protection of their own countryman, removed in a body 
thither. Such is the history of medieval Sparta, which 
was as yet unknown when Colonel Leake's Tour was 

Immediately above the theatre is a long narrow line of 
building, which has perhaps served for barracks. Elsewhere, 
on the same hill, is another fort and ruined church of later 
construction ; and at the further extremity the remains of 

SPARTA. 163 

a circus — one of the smallest extant — also a Roman work. 
At the circular end and along one side are the remains of 
the brick arches which supported the seats ; on the other 
side there is only a wall, with buttresses built along the 
edge of the hill, having no remains of arches or seats inside. 
Indeed, the circus is so narrow, that it would scarcely ad- 
mit of any. This wall is not quite parallel with the line of 
arches, and I conclude, therefore, that it was built at a later 
time, and intended, like the wall before the theatre, simply 
for a military purpose. Either the circus never was finished, 
or one side of it was destroyed to make way for the wall 
of defence. The remaining seats would, considering the 
size of the town, be amply sufficient for the spectators of 
the athletic games of a Roman garrison. The direction of 
the wall which joins the circular end seems to have been 
determined by the cella of a temple, part of which, if I 
mistake not, is actually built into it. On the height to 
the east are remains of medieval walls, and an artificial 
circular mound on the summit. Opposite the depression 
between these hills are the ruins of a bridge over the 
Eurotas, and on the plain below, some fragments appa- 
rently of a temple and its peribolus. Among the corn T 
saw three huge stones, two upright and one resting upon 
the top, like a rude doorway or like a Celtic cromlech. In 
Colonel Leake's time there were more of these singular 
erections. They cannot, I think, be supposed to be frag- 
ments of any Hellenic buildings, but are more probably 
memorials of the dead set up by the Sclavonian immi- 
grants in the Middle Ages. In the valley near the centre 
of the old city is an Hellenic building called ' The Tomb 
of Leonidas/ though it is too far from the theatre to have 

m 2 


the slightest claim to the name. 1 It is, in fact, a small 
temple, or heroum, about thirty feet in length, of great 
antiquity, to judge from the enormous size of the stones 
composing it. On one side there are only three stones 
in a course. I measured one of them, and found it to be 
fourteen feet long, three and a half feet deep, and three 
and a half feet thick. It has had an opisthodomus com- 
municating by a side door with the main building. It 
appears also to have had a peribolus, and was probably 
used for a church in later times. 

Neither this nor any other ruin can be identified with 
any of the buildings mentioned by Pausanias, except the 
theatre. Indeed, as we have seen, the existing ruins for 
the most part date from a time subsequent to his visit. 
Neither are we much helped by the incidental notices of 
Spartan topography which Colonel Leake has so diligently 
gathered from other authors. We have no data whereon 
to constitute, with any certainty, a map of the old city. 
It is hardly worth while to guess at a riddle of which the 
answer can never be known ; but I must say that Colonel 
Leake's conjectural map might be made in several points 
more plausible; at least so I thought, standing map in 
hand looking over the ground from the height above the 
theatre. 2 

First, as to the Agora. Pausanias says, ' As one goes 
from the Agora towards the west is a cenotaph in honour 

1 Pausanias, iii. 14, I — T<i(pos Kevos BpacriSq ru> TeXXi'Soy TT€7roiJ]Tai. 
dne^ec Se ov ttoXv tov rdcpov to diarpov. I shall refer to this passage 

2 The map will be found at the end of this volume. 

SPARTA. 165 

of Brasidas, and not far from the tomb is the theatre/ 
From these words Colonel Leake draws the inference that 
the Agora actually occupied the principal hill on the side 
of which the theatre is situated. Now, the first requisite 
for an agora, or general market-place, is that it should be 
not only central but easy of access. Here, on the con- 
trary, there would be a steep ascent on all sides. Neither 
is the ground assigned level enough for its purpose, or 
large enough to accommodate, beside the requisite vacant 
space, the temples, stoa, public offices, statues, &c, which 
Pausanias enumerates. Again he says, 1 that from the 
Agora led a street called Aphetse, which tradition reported 
to be the race-course in which the suitors of Penelope 
contended for the hand of the lady, Icarius having assigned 
the prize to the swiftest of foot. Would tradition have 
ever fixed upon this street if it had not been like other 
race-courses, smooth and level ground? Moreover, 2 on 
another side of the Agora, at some distance, it would ap- 
pear, was a statue, from which the suitors of Penelope 
were said to have started. The street, therefore, leading 
from this statue to the Agora was also on the same level 
as the other. Hence it is impossible that the Agora could 
have been where Colonel Leake places it. I, with him, 
infer, from the words of Pausanias first quoted, that the 
western end of the Agora could not have been far from the 
theatre, as only one monument is mentioned on the way ; 
but this condition will be quite satisfied if we suppose the 
Agora to have been at the foot of the great hill at its 
south and south-eastern side. This position will be more 

1 Paus. iii. 12, I. * lb. iii. 13, 4. 


central, more spacious, more accessible, more in accord- 
ance with the general usage of the Greeks (who, so far as 
we know, put their market-places on the top of the hill), 
and will satisfy all the conditions required by the text of 

Secondly, with regard to the Acropolis. * The Acro- 
polis of the Lacedaemonians/ says Pausanias, 1 ' does not 
stand out to a pre-eminent height, like the Cadmaea of 
Thebes and the Argive Larissa ; but there being other hills 
also in the city, that which reaches the greatest elevation 
they call Acropolis/ 

' This/ says Colonel Leake, ' is rather a doubtful de- 
scription, as there is little or no apparent difference 
between the height of the great hill and of that at the 
northern extremity of the site. Upon farther examina- 
tion, however, it is seen that the only part of the great 
hill equal in height to the other is the back of the theatre, 
which could not have been the Acropolis. There is some 
reason to think also that the natural height of this hill 
has been increased by the theatre itself and its ruins, so 
that the expression of Pausanias may still have been just, 
as applied to the northern hill ; which, moreover, being 
separated from the rest and at one angle of the site, was 
better adapted for an acropolis than any other/ 2 

I differ in several points from the passage just quoted. 
To my eye the northern hill is considerably lower than 
the great hill; if any other hill on this ground can dis- 
pute the claim of the latter to be called Acropolis, it is 
the eastern, which Colonel Leake calls Issorium. I do 

1 Paus. iii. 17, 2. 2 Leake's 3£orea, vol. i. p. 173. 



not think that the height has been increased by the theatre 
and its ruins, nor do I see why a hill could not be an 
acropolis because it has a theatre built at the side. The 
theatre of Dionysus was on the side of the Athenian 
Acropolis. Neither does the situation of the northern 
hill fit it for an acropolis; it is overlooked by a higher 
hill to the northward, and from its summit scarcely any 
part of the city would be visible. Moreover, neither on 
it nor on the eastern hill would there be room for the 
temples and statues recorded by Pausanias ; I conclude, 
therefore, that the great hill above the Agora was what 
they called Acropolis. Observe, too, that it was not in 
those old days a fortress in itself, but only called Acropolis 
in imitation of other cities. The. fact that the Romans 
afterwards, as we have reason to believe, chose this hill 
for their fortification, and that it was beyond doubt the 
site of the medieval city, shows that it was the most com- 
manding position of the three. 

There is no evidence that the place called Platanistas, 
where the Spartan youth fought in such a savage manner, 1 
was where Colonel Leake has placed it, at the junction of 
the little river Trypiotiko with the Eurotas. It may have 
been an island in the Eurotas, or even in the bed of the 
other stream ; neither is there any proof that the Dromos 
was adjacent to or near it. The mention of one place of 
athletic exercise naturally leads Pausanias to speak of 
another ; just as, in his description of Athens, an associa- 
tion of ideas leads him from the statue of Ptolemy in the 

1 Lucian, Anacharsis, c. 35.— Paus. iii. 14, 8— avro Se to xo>piou 
evda rols e(f)Tifiois pax^o-Bai Kadeo~njKe, kvk\w pev "Evpmos irepie'xei 
nara ravra Kai ii vqcrov 6aXaao-a, e(po8oi Se eVi yecpvpcbv elai. 


Agora to those of other Egyptian kings before the Odeum, 
leaping over half the city. That the Dromos was not 
close to the Eurotas is, I think, proved by Pausanias 
(iii. 15, 4), which shows that there was no impediment to 
a free exit from it towards the east. 1 

Pjtane. — ' Herodotus shows that the theatre was in the 
quarter of Pitane ; Plutarch mentions it as being the most 
desirable and fashionable quarter of Sparta, like the Colyttus 
at Athens and the Craneum at Corinth ; and Pindar de- 
scribes Pitane as being at the ford of the Eurotas. These 
authorities seem to indicate that the Pitanatse inhabited 
all the part of Sparta adjacent to the Agora, and extended 
to the river about the centre of its course in front of Sparta, 
for here was probably in all times its most frequented pas- 

1 There is a passage in the Helena of Euripides (205—209) in 
which allusion seems to he made both to the Hippodrome and to the 

Kdcrropos re crvyyovov re 

bihvpoyeves ayakpa irarpiSos 

d(paves dcpaves ImroKpoTa XfKome 8dire8a 

yvpvdcrid re bovaicoevTos 

~Evpcora, veaviav irovov. 

If, indeed, there were any other evidence for the proximity of the 
Dromos to the river, we might suppose that, as there were two 
gymnasia included within it (Paus. iii. 14, 6), the words yvpvdaia 
Eiipara referred to the Dromos ; but, taking into consideration the 
concluding words, the former hypothesis seems the more probable. 
But, as I have before said, we must not look for topographical, or 
other minutiae in any ancient poet. Castor and Pollux were the 
especial patrons of athletic sports : their statues, according to Pausa- 
nias, stood at the entrance to the Dromos, where they were known 
under the title dcpeTrjpiot, ' the starters,' hence it is possible that the 
word ayaXpa may be used significantly by the poet. 

SrARTA. 169 

With regard to this point Colonel Leake's map is at 
variance with his text, for it represents Pitane as separated 
from the river by Liranse and the Messoatae. 

City Walls. — It was the pride and boast of the ancient 
Spartans that their city needed no bulwarks. "What the 
Irish poet fondly dreams of his O'Briens and O'Donoghoos 
might be said with sober truth of the kings of Sparta : — 

O for the kings of former time ! 

for the pomp that crowned them ! 
When the hearts and the hands of free-born men 

Were all the ramparts round them. 

Such was their state when Thucydides wrote in a well- 
known passage (b. l. c. 10), which may be freely trans- 
lated thus : — ' If the city of the Lacedaemonians were 
destroyed, and only its temples and the foundations of its 
buildings left, remote posterity would greatly doubt whether 
their power were ever equal to their renown ; yet they are 
actually in occupation of two parts out of five of the Pelo- 
ponnese, and at the head of the whole peninsula and many 
external allies ; nevertheless, as their city is not continuous 
and compact, and has no costly monuments, sacred or civil, 
but is divided into villages after the old fashion of Greece, 
it would seem to fall short of its fame/ 

The villages were probably five in number, Pitane, 
Limnse, Messose, Cynosoura, and vEgeis, each possessing 
a district abutting on the Agora as a common centre, and 
radiating from that point far out into the country. Their 
temples and public buildings, except the really national 
buildings, the senate house, ' Skias,' theatre, and sanctuary 
of Athene-Chalkioecus, were erected not by a common 
effort, but by each { village' for its own use; and were, 



therefore, not on the scale of magnificence which distin- 
guished the temples and buildings at Athens. They were 
also scattered over a wide surface, and many of those 
which Pausanias mentions were probably outside the walls. 
It does not appear that there was any attempt to fortify 
the town till the invasion of Demetrius Poliorcetes (293 
B.C.), when they dug deep ditches and erected strong pali- 
sades, and built a wall to defend the most assailable points, 1 
which defences stood them again in good stead whenPyrrhus 
invaded Laconia (b.c 272). These extemporized works were 
converted by the tyrant Nabis into a fortification of the 
strongest kind, which was completed between the attack 
of Titus Quinctius Flamininus (b.c 195) and that of Phi- 
lopoemen (b.c 192), and was razed to the ground by the 
latter after the death of the tyrant. The banished Lace- 
daemonians appealed to Rome, were reinstated and allowed 
to rebuild their wall, now become a necessary guarantee 
of their independence. This is probably the wall which 
was in existence when Pausanias visited the city (about 
a.d. 170). He twice mentions the wall, but without 
giving any indication of its course. Not a fragment now 
remains. It was probably of unbaked brick, except in 
such parts as might be exposed to inundation. The brick- 
work, if neglected, would soon crumble away in sun and 
shower, and the stone-work was very likely used in the 
construction of the late Roman work which is still extant 
about the edges of the central hill. I suppose that in the 
early times, when ' Sparta' was rather a general name for 
several neighbouring villages than a city, the houses would 

1 Paus. i. 13, 5. Cf. iii. c. 8, 3. Livy, xxxiv. 27; xxxv. 30. 
Leake, p. 179. 

SPAItTA. 171 

be separate, and each surrounded by its garden or paddock 1 ; 
but when it became necessary for security to dwell within 
walls, the houses would be continuous, and Sparta differ 
in no wise from the common type of a Greek polis. The 
laws of Lycurgus, so opposed to the examples and influences 
of neighbouring people, became practically inoperative soon 
after the time of Thucydides, although an outward husk 
of formal observance, no doubt, remained long after the 
core was gone. From Pausanias's account we see that the 
Spartans had been infected with the prevailing taste for 
architectural display. In his day the remarks of Thucy- 
dides would have been no longer applicable; and if his 
prediction respecting the comparative grandeur of the 
ruins of Athens is fulfilled to our eyes, it is because fate 
has dealt so much more hardly with the one than with 
the other. Of course Athens stood at all times pre- 
eminent in splendour ; but Sparta probably was about the 
commencement of our era not inferior to Argos, Thebes, 
Corinth, or any other city of Greece. Even in the time 
of Polybius, before any regular fortifications were built, 
the population, probably much diminished, had gathered 
also for security within narrower limits (v. 22). He 
describes the shape of the city as circular, and says that 
its circumference was forty-eight stades, equal to six Ro- 
man miles. If we take for the limits of the then city the 
winding Eurotas on the one side, the Trypiotiko on the 
other, the edge of the plateau looking westward, and the 
deep ravine to the north, the shape of the city would be 
approximately circular, and the length of the circumference 
nearly forty-eight stades. There is always a tendency 
among men to exaggerate the size, population, and im- 


portance of their own city j and Polybius probably derived 
his information from some oral, not written, source. If 
he judged by the eye, we must remember that, in esti- 
mating a distance crowded with many different objects, 
the natural tendency is to over-estimate — in judging of 
distance by sea along a shore or on waste ground, the ten- 
dency is to under-estimate. The ditch and palisade, I 
conceive, embraced this circle, and the walls subsequently 
built were probably coincident with them on all sides but 
that facing the Eurotas, where I conceive that they fol- 
lowed the line of the higher ground. I thought it, when 
on the spot, exceedingly improbable that they ever ex- 
tended, as in Colonel Leake's map, beyond the Trypiotiko. 
The ground on the right bank is much lower and much 
less defensible than that on the left. An expression used 
by Pausanias tends to the conclusion that the side of 
Sparta towards Amyclse, the side of which we are speaking, 
stood on high ground. He says, ' As you go down from 
Sparta to Amyclse' (hi. 18, 4). Now, if the walls were 
where Colonel Leake has placed them, persons would have 
had to 'go up' from Sparta to Aniyclae. These walls were 
probably much decayed in Pausanias's time, as he only 
casually mentions them, and does not stop to define 
the position of this or that building as being within or 

Many temples (as that of the Dioscuri and Poseidon- 
Gaiouchos) were probably without, in their old positions, 
left, when the scattered ' villagers ' betook themselves to 
the city, to the protection of their own sanctity. The 
Dromos, like the Hippodrome, was, I suppose, outside, as 
was also the Platanistas. 

SPARTA. 173 

Remembering the passage in Thucydides, and also the 
Spartan affectation of simplicity, one is surprised at first 
to find in Pausanias so long a catalogue of artistic and 
architectural works. But the vast majority of these Avorks 
in their then state dated from a time subsequent to the 
Peloponnesian war, when the rigid rules of the old Spartans 
had given way, like the tenets of the modern Quakers, to 
the irresistible attraction of those general thoughts, habits, 
feelings, manners which we designate by that convenient 
cant phrase ' the spirit of the age/ 



A PRJL 24. Leaving Sparta at 7 o'clock, we rode 
-*-*- across the plain to Xerokarnpo, our object being to 
visit a bridge which Colonel Mure in his Tour in Greece 
maintains to be a relic of the heroic ages. Groves of 
olive and mulberry alternate with stony torrent beds and 
wildernesses of yellow flowers. All the soil of the plain 
has been deposited in the course of long ages by the 
torrents which issue from the ravines of Taygetus; hence 
it is full of stones and hard to work, especially along the 
base of the hill, thus bearing out the description of Euri- 
pides — c A poor land, plenty of arable, but not easy to till/ 
Our friend the Eirenodikos, however, vehemently denied 
the truth of this description, not knowing the ancient 
authority we were quoting. ' II ne nous manque que les 
bras/ he said. 

Along the Eurotas, I believe, the land is richer ; and 
in the lap of the mountains are many tracts of exuberant 
fertility. The plain itself has no doubt now a richer ap- 
pearance than formerly, owing to the introduction of the 
mulberry, which takes kindly to the soil, and hides all 
show of barrenness with the sheen of its fresh green 
leaves. About halfway is a scattered village called Skla- 
vokhori, which, on the faith of certain inscriptions found 


here, has been supposed to occupy the site of the ancient 
Amyclse. The hypothesis has received the official sanc- 
tion of government, and the village has been again bap- 
tized by the classical name. It is, however, too distant 
from Sparta. Amyclse was only twenty stades from the 
city j 1 Sklavokhori must be more than twice as far. 
Colonel Leake has fixed upon a hill and church called 
Aia Kyriake, where he found a stone with the letters 
' AMY' inscribed, as the probable position of the old 
city. This, however, is also too distant from the walls of 
Sparta. On the other hand, there does not appear to be, 
at the required distance, any conspicuous and isolated 
eminence, such as the earlier inhabitants of Greece selected 
for their cities. It is not impossible that this hill may 
have been the site of the Amyclse which maintained its 
independence in spite of its formidable neighbour, in the 
same Avay as Tiryns and Mycenae maintained theirs against 
Argos; for its resistance could not have been so long 
successful on such unequal terms, except by the help of a 
stronghold securing it against the attack of superior force. 
But when Amyche was finally conquered, the Spartans, we 
may suppose, destroyed the fortifications of the polisma, 
and caused the majority of the inhabitants to settle in the 
plain below. They did not, like the Argives, transport 
the inhabitants to their city — for, as we know, they had no 
city themselves in the proper sense of the term — but they 
caused them to dwell Kara kiowv — village -wise. Thus 
the Amyclse of later days became a suburban 'village/ 
like one of the five urban villages, the aggregate of which 
was called by the name of Sparta. 

1 Polyb. v. 1 6. Leake, i. 136. 


In the Messenica (c. 18, 3) I find an expression which 
seems to imply that even in Pausanias's time there were 
two distinct places, Am yclse the polisma, and Amyclse the 
home. ' Aristomenes with his hody of picked men set 
out at nightfall, and made such speed that he arrived at 
Amyclse before sunrise, and he both took and plundered 
Amyche the polisma, and made good his retreat/ That 
there is no special mention made of this distinction in his 
description of the monuments at Amyclse will surprise no 
one who is acquainted with the author's style. 

There are two other passages in Pausanias which help 
us, in conjunction with Polybius, to find the required 
site. In iii. 18, 4, he says: 'As you go down from 
Sparta to Amyclse there is a river called Tiasa.' This I 
take to be the Trypiotiko so often mentioned, which, ac- 
cording to my view, was outside the w T alls. Colonel Leake, 
who believes another stream to be the Tiasa, nevertheless 
expresses his surprise that Pausanias should not have 
mentioned the Trypiotiko, a river which always has some 
water — a case sufficiently rare to be remarkable — and at 
times a great deal. My hypothesis obviates the difficulty. 
Again, we find (from iii. 20, 3) that a river called Phellias 
ran by Amyclse. The position, therefore, of ' the village' 
must be sought on the banks of the second stream, which 
runs from Taygetus to the Eurotas. 

There is an oversight in Colonel Leake's map with 
regard to the Phellias. Pausanias distinctly states, that 
this river ran by Amyclse, and yet in the map the name 
is given, not to the second, but to the fourth stream, 
which joins the Eurotas south of Sparta, many miles 
from the position which his text assigns to Amyclse. 


It being Holy Thursday according to the Greek calen- 
dar, the modern Amycleans were all assembled in church 
and about it, for the walls were too strait to contain 
the congregation. In an olive-ground close by we ob- 
served a large block of marble with an inscription, 
dating from Roman times, about a certain high-priest 
of the Sebasti Caii. Among other scattered relics there 
was a fragment of a Corinthian column and the head of 
an ox in marble, with a fillet, as if prepared for sacri- 
fice. After a halt of forty minutes, we rode on, and 
reached Xerokampo at ten o'clock. 

The bridge, of whose existence M. Ross informed 
Colonel Mure, and which the latter had difficulty in find- 
ing out, is now one of the recognised ' lions ' of the 
Spartan plain. The Eirenodikos knew of it, so did the 
Kapnopoles, so did the bishop, and all spoke of it fami- 
liarly, though none had taken the pains to pay it a visit. 
Our dragoman, not generally famous as a ' path-finder/ 
brought us, by pebbly torrent-beds, and patches of green 
corn and groves of mulberry and olive, straight without 
a fault to the object of our search. 

Colonel Mure says : ' With the exception, perhaps, of 
the Lion-gate of Mycenae, I scai'cely know a monument 
the first view of which produced so powerful an impression 
on my mind. No entire ancient bridge of any kind — 
still less an arched bridge of a genuine Hellenic period — 
had hitherto been known to exist within the limits of 
Greece ; and even the ability of Greek masons to throw 
an arch had been very generally questioned. Here I saw 
an arched bridge of considerable size and finished struc- 
ture, and in a style of masonry which guarantees it a 


work of the remotest antiquity — probably of the heroic 
age itself. . . . The largest stones are those of the arch ; 
some of them may be from four to five feet long, from 
two to three in breadth, and between one and two in 
thickness. In size and proportions they are nearly similar 
to those which form the interior lining of the heroic 
sepulchres at Mycence ; and the whole character of the 
work leads to the impression of its being a structure of 
the same epoch that produced those monuments/ 1 

This passage affords an example of the exaggeration 
into which, with the best good faith, a traveller's enthu- 
siasm is prone to lead him, especially in regard to his own 
discoveries. The proportions of the bridge are by no 
means imposing, nor are the stones composing it, with 
the exception, perhaps, of one or two upon which the arch 
rests, anything like the size which is here assigned to them. 
I had already seen at the Isthmus an ancient bridge, still 
entire, of which the stones were far more massive; there- 
fore the effect of this of Xerokampo upon my mind was 
by no means such as Colonel Mure has described. But, 
enthusiasm apart, the bridge is sufficiently ancient to be 
interesting to the antiquary, and in a situation so beau- 
tiful that, were it ever so recent, it would still be worth 
visiting and sketching with pencil and brush, or, failing 
the required skill, at all events with pen, for ' scribimus 
indocti doctique/ 

At this point the lowest ' buttresses ' of Taygetus fall 
steeply down to the plain. The face of the mountain is 
rent into a deep, long, narrow glen, at the bottom of 

1 ^lure's Tour in Greece, vol. i. pp. 248, 249. 


which, 'mining a channeled way" through limestone 
rocks, flows a bright and copious stream. Over this 
stream, just where it escapes from the gloom of the glen 
to the sunshine of the plain, is thrown a bridge, solid and 
massive, built assuredly in the times ' when men knew 
how to build/ Col. Mure reckons the span of the arch 
at twenty-seven feet ■ but this, in my opinion, is far too 
large. Its general structure is undoubtedly polygonal; 
but then the arch itself is built of stones squared and 
chiselled in far other than 'Cyclopean' fashion. Now, 
when we find mingled in the same work an earlier and 
later style, surely it is more reasonable to attribute it to 
the later period. Skilled men may imitate the rudeness 
of antiquity, but rude men cannot anticipate the skill of 
posterity. I have said elsewhere that there is reason to 
believe that the polygonal style continued to be occasion- 
ally employed doAvn to later times. In the ruins of Samos 
in Cephalonia there is a wall supporting a bank of earth, 
of which the lower part is Hellenic, the upper polygonal. 
It is also, as I have elsewhere said, the style which soldiers 
turned masons would adopt by the light of nature. There 
is no reason why this may not have been a Roman work. It 
may also have been Hellenic— for I am convinced that the 
Greeks were from immemorial time acquainted with the 
principle of the arch j but the wonder of its preservation, 
in any case great, is increased in proportion to its supposed 
antiquity. The Handbook truly says, that the stones of 
the arch are ' exquisitely hewn and symmetrically placed / 
but the suggestion that ' the stones may have been taken 
by the Romans or Byzantines from some Hellenic build- 
ing in the neighbourhood/ will not bear the test of exami- 

n 2 


nation. Those who hewed the stones certainly intended 
them to form an arch, for they have a concave and convex 
edge, and increase in breadth towards the latter. It is 
more likely that Roman, or, it may be, Byzantine soldiers 
built this bridge on the ruins of a former structure, and 
having thrown a new arch, put together wherever they 
could the old materials again. 

But Colonel Mure's hobby, Avhen once over the bridge, 
gallops away with him by an impossible road over Tay- 
getus. Metaphor apart, the question which Colonel Mure 
propounds is this : Homer makes Telemachus come in a 
chariot in one day from Pherse (Kalamata) to Sparta; how 
can we find a practicable road, and so ' save Homer's 
credit V This is the answer : — 

' On looking along the mountain to the southward as 
laid down on a very excellent map ... I observed at about 
one-third of the distance towards Cape Matapan, indica- 
tions of a considerable hollow or valley extending over 
the crown of the ridge, in the centre of which was marked 
a village called Kumusta. Here, therefore, I was willing 
to suppose might have been a pass capable of affording a 
carriage road from Pherse by a somewhat more circuitous 
line. The next day we discovered the bridge of Xero- 
kampo, the dimensions of which, it has been seen, prove 
it to have been intended for the use of wheel carriages j 
and on inquiry I ascertained that the track of which its 
causeway is now the lower extremity, is in fact at this day 
a common though less direct bridle-road across the moun- 
tain to the Messenian plain. There can, therefore, be little 
doubt that this is the line of route which Homer makes 
Telemachus travel; and everything warrants the belief that 


the poet himself if not his hero, may have passed over 
this very bridge/ 1 

Now, in the first place, the very excellent map is con- 
siderably at fault, if tested by the map of the French 
survey. The hollow, or valley, does not extend over the 
crown of the ridge, but ends at the base of the highest 
culminating peak ; Kumusta is not in the centre, but half 
way down the eastern side. According to the information 
given me by a peasant whom I met coming down from 
Kumusta, or some neighbouring village, there never was, 
and never could have been, a carriage-road that way; there 
is a difficult foot-road over the hill, and that leads not to 
Kalamata, but to Androuvista, many miles away to the 
southward. The path leading down from Kumusta, as it 
approaches the lower end of the glen, follows, and must 
always have followed, the northern bank of the stream ; so 
that, granting the carriage-road, Telemachus would not 
have crossed the bridge on his way to Sparta, but left it to 
the right hand. I shall have occasion by-and-bye to return 
to this subject, which is interesting, not because the route 
of Telemachus is .of the smallest importance to any human 
being, but because it bears upon the right interpretation 
and use of Horner's poems. But how the old bard's 
' credit' is concerned in the matter I cannot conceive. 
"We ought not to find fault with a romance because it is 
not history, nor censure a poem for not being an itinerary. 
The glen above the bridge is one of the grandest 
mountain defiles I ever saw. A few hundred yards higher 
up there is a cavern in the face of a precipice, and in the 

1 Mure's Tour in Greece, vol. i. p. 253. 


cavern a church and hermitage, accessible by a narrow 
and somewhat dangerous path. Beyond this is a singular 
freak of nature — a mass of rock several hundred feet in 
height projects into the glen, with a great chasm in the 
middle, so that it looks like a flying buttress ' piled by 
the hands of giants in the great days of old/ I never 
saw a wilder gorge, nor any less adapted for a carriage- 
road. To make one would have taxed to the utmost the 
energies of those giants themselves. Returning from the 
glen, we sat down on the grass near the bridge to take 
luncheon, the materials for which w r e had brought with 
us. But, in reckoning upon seclusion, we had reckoned 
without our host. Some one had caught sight of us, 
and reported it in the neighbouring village. Church was 
over ; it was a strict holiday and a strict fast, so, having 
nothing better to do, the whole population poured out to 
see us. I counted seventy persons, of all ages, peering 
curiously at us and our viands, hustling each other, and 
at last hustling us, with a rudeness very unusual in Greek 
peasants. They treated us with the less ceremony as 
they were, I suppose, scandalized at our open disregard of 
the orthodox regimen prescribed for Lent in general and 
Passion-week in particular. "We were at length obliged 
to take refuge on a rock in the middle of the stream, 
where, at the risk of a sunstroke, we finished our unhal- 
lowed repast in peace. 

The Greek Church prescribes far more rigid rules for 
Lenten fasts than the Church of Rome, and the rules 
are also much more rigidly observed, at least in public. 
I one day offered an egg to Alcibiades — a careless, good- 
for-nothing gamin as could be; but he rejected it with 


an expression of the most sanctimonious horror. Fish, 
too, is forbidden. Only one exception is made in favour 
of the cuttle-fish, 1 which has been pronounced to be, in 
an ecclesiastical point of view, a reptile, and lawful food 
accordingly. In Passion-week the more rigid abstain 
even from oil ; but this is a supererogatory privation. In 
Athens there are many freethinkers, who openly disregard 
all these rules, and doubtless many more who privately 
break them. In the country, too, the educated men 
groan under the infliction, but are forced to submit. 
So far as I could learn, it is not so much fear of 
ecclesiastical censure which enforces this reluctant sub- 
mission, but the strength of public opinion among the 
men and women of the poorer class, and the women of 
all classes. One gentleman of high respectability com- 
plained bitterly of his wife's superstition, in starving 
herself, and consequently half-starving her infant. He 
showed us, with tears in his eyes, how pale and thin 
its cheeks were, and uttered in his wrath certain adju- 
rations of a by no means ' orthodox ' character. ' In- 
validi raatrum referunt jejunia nati.' It is indeed a hard 
case for the ' invalid' children, who share the privation 
without the merit. 

But the subject is really too serious to be jested about. 
These rigid rules, which tax poor human nature to the 
uttermost in the observance of outward formalities, crush 
and destroy all vital and spiritual religion. All the facul- 

1 The chorus in the Acharnians (1156) pray that they may one 
day see the stingy Antimachus, revOlBos 8e6fievoi>, ' in want even of 
cuttle-fish,' suffering the extremity of destitution. It is at all times 
a very abundant, cheap, and disgusting article of food. 


ties of the soul are concentrated on the achievement of 
formal obedience, and are a blank so far as regards moral 
teaching. Ceremonial cleanness is all in all ; inward 
purity is not thought of. The Pharisaism which our 
Lord denounced could not be more abominable than the 
Pharisaism which the Greek Church enforces in His name. 
I speak thus strongly not from my own observation, which, 
though tending always to confirm what I have said, was 
not extended enough to justify so sweeping a conclusion, 
but from the unanimous testimony of all persons qualified 
to judge, Greeks as well as foreigners. All these persons 
were agreed that the rapid progress of education and the 
influence of European customs would speedily sweep away 
both this and other pernicious superstitions of that most 
corrupt church, but they differed as to the form of religion 
which should succeed it. Some built their hopes upon 
the unimpeded circulation of the Neiv Testament, and were 
sanguine enough to hope for a reformed hierarchy, a puri- 
fied liturgy, and scriptural doctrine ; others looked forward 
to the substitution of spiritual apathy and intellectual un- 
belief. But it is idle to speculate on the coming change. 
Indeed, it may be long before any change comes at all, at 
least in the institutions and customs of the Church. The 
education which is expected to overthrow all faith in the 
minds of the men will scarcely influence the women. In 
Greece the woman is regarded as the inferior of the man, 
and is not trained to be his friend and companion, but, 
according to the husband's wealth and rank, the drudge 
or ornament of his household. So that old prejudice will 
retain its hold over the women, and will through them 
influence the children. Besides, the Church has a hold 


upon the patriotism as well as the superstition of the 
Greeks. It was for ages the sole bond of union among 
them — the one national institution which remained to 
remind them that they had once been free. So they clung 
to the Church and its usages in spite of the most grinding 
tyranny ; for in it they saw not only all their hopes here- 
after, but their single chance of ultimate deliverance on 
earth. They love the Church because their fathers have 
suffered for it, and with it. It will, therefore, continue 
long to be the policy of the Greek government to exalt 
and conciliate the priesthood ; the priests will retain all 
their hold upon the women and the rural population ; and 
the mass of educated men will find no difficulty in com- 
bining outward conformity with secret unbelief. As for 
the priests, who are being educated too, self-interest will 
prompt a sophistry whereby they may palliate to their 
consciences the teaching of doctrines which they do not 
believe, and the enforcing of observances which they think 
meaningless and absurd. And this result will come about 
with the more facility as selfishness and subtlety are said 
to be common blemishes of the modern Greek character. 
It will not be the first time in the world's history that the 
frightful spectacle has been presented of a divorce between 
the national faith and the national reason, resulting in 
grovelling superstition among the lower classes, and cynical 
indifference among the upper. The wonder is that a state 
of things so rotten should have any permanence. And 
yet there are examples enough to prove that it may last 
long, and that the crisis, which seems every moment im- 
minent, may be indefinitely delayed. 

France, in these latter days, had a long succession of 


sceptical prelates ; Rome, in the Middle Ages, a long series 
of infidel popes ; in the ancient Rome, many generations 
of augurs laughed in each other's faces ; and Eleusis found 
for four centuries after Christ hierophants of her exploded 
mysteries. So in modern Greece we may find that, for a 
long time to come, the king, ministers, senators and depu- 
ties, the professors and students of the university, and all 
the priests who are not also peasants, will be utter disbe- 
lievers, while the lower orders will retain a deep-rooted 
conviction of the efficacy of relics and the divine obliga- 
tion to abstain from eggs. Meanwhile the upper ranks of 
the hierarchy will, with all due gravity, mumble the mass 
and exhibit the authentic mummy of an apostle ; and the 
upper ranks of the laity as solemnly chant the responses 
and kiss the mummy's toe. In that case all hope of the 
establishment of some rational form of Christianity will 
lie in the small body of men who may be found honest 
enough not to palter with their consciences, and bold 
enough to face the protracted martyrdom which a society 
composed of superstitious fanatics and conforming infidels 
will be sure to inflict with peculiar refinement of cruelty. 
These may break away from Pharisee and Sadducee, and 
form a separate sect, which, persecuted and despised, may 
be the very salt of the social body — a living seed sown 
among corruption — the nucleus and germ of a future 
national church. 

vYe returned along the base of the hills to Mistra. On 
the way we halted beside a copious fountain gushing out 
from under the conglomerate. Close by was a ruined 
Byzantine church, which itself had been built out of the 
fragments of a ruined temple : an Ionic capital of white 


marble still remained. I suppose this is the place where 
Colonel Leake mentions having seen some sculptures in 
relief (vol. i. p. 187). They have vanished now. From 
the position of the temple it may be supposed to have 
been dedicated to the nymphs. The village of Brysege, 
mentioned by Pausanias, must have been in this neigh- 
bourhood, and very likely took its name from this abound- 
ing spring, or Bnjsis. 

We halted again in one of the steep and ruinous streets 
of Mistra; and were induced by heat and fatigue to 
abandon our purpose of exploring the old castle, whose 
battlements, Frank, Venetian, or Turkish, crown so pic- 
turesquely the salient angle of the mountain-wall, to 
whose steep ledges cling the decaying remnants of what 
was the capital city of Laconia, and reluctantly turned 
towards Sparta. The way lies down a well-wooded ravine, 
where the thick trees are festooned with luxuriant ivy and 
wild vine, and the babbling of the stream is mingled with 
the thick warbled notes of innumerable nightingales. One 
might fancy that in this glen the Spartan virgins cut their 
thyrsi and wove their garlands when on their way to hold 
their strange orgies to Dionysus, wandering from village 
to village and from wood to wood on the mountain slopes 
of Taygetus. 

Next morning we found the main street of Sparta 
crowded with lambs, and with the buyers and sellers 
thereof. It was Good Friday. Even the poorest families 
contrive to kill a lamb on Easter Sunday; and they buy 
it at the fair on the Friday preceding. Our balcony over- 
hung the most crowded part of the market, and we amused 
ourselves with watching many a noisy protracted bargain, 


which always ended in mutual content — the happy rustic 
pocketing his money, and the happy citizen carrying off 
the lamb on the back of his neck, anticipating the delight 
of his children playing with it on the morrow and eating 
it the day after. In almost every shop window was a dis- 
play of Easter bread — a kind of fantastically twisted roll 
with hard-boiled eggs stuck in it. Sometimes the eggs 
were left plain white, sometimes they were dyed in gay 
colours like the ' Pace eggs/ or otherwise, by corruption, 
1 Paste eggs/ of the north of England. I have seen the 
Paschal eggs exhibited in the shops of Paris, and the custom 
prevails in many parts of Christendom. One might draw 
the inference that eggs had once been universally prohi- 
bited during Lent, as in the Greek church they are pro- 
hibited to this day. If there be any symbolical meaning 
attached, I should conceive that it is an after-thought of 
the clergy, a kindly device for making the custom tend to 



' 1\/T 0UNT Ta ygetus, famous in all ages for its honey, 
- 1 -*- is formed of a slippery rock, so hard as not to be 
broken without difficulty, and bristled with little points 
and angles, on which the gentlest fall is attended with 
danger/ Thus far the Handbook. The description, 
aiming at being compendious, fails to be comprehensive, 
and scarcely does justice to the varied agricultural pro- 
ducts or the intricate geological structure of the moun- 
tain. 1 The main ridge culminates into several successive 
peaks. The highest summit of all is that of St. Elias, 
reaching an elevation of 2409 French metres, equivalent 
to 7905 English feet. Pausanias (iii. 20, 5) mentions 

1 A section of Taygetus given in the atlas published by the French 
surveyors, specifies no less than thirteen different formations as com- 
posing this range of mountain. ' 1. Schistes anciens — 2. Anagenites 
et schistes ferrugineux — 3. Marbres talqueux — 4. Schistes talqueux 
verts — 5. Marbres tigres — 6". Marbres siliceux — 7. Calcaires modifies 
— 8. Calcaire lithographique — 9. Serpentine — 10. G res vert — n.Cal- 
caire blanc, craie compacte — 12. Terrain tertiaire — 13. Alluvions.' 

The peaks and the highest ridges are composed of silicious marbles ; 
below them the mass of the mountain is divided between ' old schist' 
towards the eastern side, and ' marbres talqueux' or ' tigres' towards 
the western side, with an almost vertical layer of * ferruginous schist' 
at the point of junction. 


two principal summits. One of them is easily identified ; 
for the other there may be many claimants. There are 
several lesser peaks nearly equal in height to one another, 
but all falling far below St. Elias. c A summit of Tay- 
getus, called Taleton, rises above Brysese; this, they say, 
is sacred to the sun, and there they offer various sacrifices, 
particularly horses. I know that the Persians are in the 
habit of sacrificing the same animal. Not far from Taleton 
is Euoras, where are found wild goats in abundance, and 
other wild creatures. Indeed every part of the mountain 
affords sport in these goats and in boars, and very good 
sport also in stags and bears. And the district which lies 
between Taleton and Euoras is called Therai ' [i.e. hunting 
ground, f chace'). 

At first sight one is disposed to hazard a conjecture 
that the principal peak derives its modern name from the 
similarity in sound between 'Elias' and c Helios/ but a 
glance at the map of Greece is sufficient to disprove this. 
Almost all the highest peaks of the respective ranges are 
called after St. Elias. Probably the name comes from 
the Asiatic Clnistians, who, finding all the high places 
specially dedicated to Belus or Baal, naturally transferred 
the honour to Elijah, who had so signally confuted his 
pretensions to divinity. It was on one of the high places, 
too, Mount Carmel, that the scene took place. 1 The con- 
cluding verses of the chapter in which the story is told 
make the dedication of a mountain-top to Elijah still more 
appropriate: f And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; 
and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face 

1 Kings xviii. 19. 


between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, 
— look toward the sea.' There is scarcely a peak of any 
eminence in this little peninsula of Greece from which 
the sea is not visible. There is a pass leading over into 
Messenia between St. Elias and another summit to the 
right, which is perhaps the Euoras of Pausanias. This 
was the route we wished to take ; but our guide made 
so many difficulties, alleging, first, that it was still 
impracticable, owing to the snow; next, that we must 
get mules or donkeys without shoes to carry our bag- 
gage over the steep and slippery rocks, which mules 
or donkeys were not to be had for love or money, 
seeing that it was a point of conscience with them to 
spend Easter Sunday at home, Sec. &c, that we finally 
yielded, and agreed to take a lower path to the northward, 
under the peak of Malevo, sleeping the first night at Kas- 
tania, a lofty mountain-hamlet. We left Sparta at two 
o'clock in the afternoon of Friday, April 25. Our way 
lay along the banks of the Eurotas. We passed many 
groups of gaily- dressed villagers returning from the fair 
at Sparta. After riding along the right bank of the 
Eurotas for an hour and a half, we came to a stream 
which flowed from Taygetus to join the main river, under 
a dense growth of ilex and various low trees, over which 
trailed clematis and wild vine. At this time our con- 
ductor was far behind with the baggage, and had left us 
to our own instincts and reason. The latter faculty sug- 
gested that we should follow the path to the left, which 
seemed the better tracked ; the former faculty made us 
feel that the valley up which it led was uncommonly 
charming; so we turned off, without reflecting that we 


had no good ground for assuming it to be the way to 
Kastania. By-and-bye we overtook an old man, of whom 
we made inquiries — for by this time we were able to carry 
on a rudimentary conversation in the modern jargon — 
and received for answer the pleasing intelligence that we 
were not on the right track for Kastania, but for Bordonia, 
a village which we might see on the side of the hill some 
miles farther on. I observed that, in pronouncing this 
word, he gave to the initial letter the ordinary b sound, 
not v, after the modern Greek fashion ; and, if I mistook 
not, other peasants of the district in other words pro- 
nounced the /3 in the same way. If so, the old and true 
pronunciation 1 survives in a provincial peculiarity. The 
old man regarded us with no small curiosity. Uowov 
uaOc ti)u TraTpiSa ; he asked, ' Where do you live when 
you are at home V ' England.' — ' What business have 
you at Kastania?' f Nothing ; only to see it.' — Our 
replies were received with a prolonged and significant 
shrug of the shoulders, which I interpreted to mean, 
' What a couple of idiots you are to come, no one knows 
how far, to see Kastania, and to be riding about the hills 
at this time of day without a guide !' We began to be 
of the same opinion, and, as we followed a rugged, ill- 
tracked path to the right, which he pointed out to us, 
were speculating on the chances of passing the night 
shelterless and supperless on the mountain, when we 

1 That the Greek j3 had anciently the sound of the English b, is 
proved by their using /3J), fir/ to imitate the bleating of sheep. In a 
modem Greek poem which I have seen this sound is represented by 
fine, fiTre. This alio shows that 7 was anciently pronounced like our 
a in ' fate.' 


heard a familiar voice shouting behind us, and were 
presently joined by Alexander, who, having sent on the 
baggage by the proper road, had been riding about in 
search of us in a high state of alarm and perplexity. All's 
well that ends well. We arrived at Kastania before it 
was dark, and by this little escapade enjoyed a succession 
of wide prospects, which would have been hid to us had 
we followed the beaten track. The slopes along which 
we were riding were one mass of pink and yellow flowers ; 
and beyond this bright foreground we looked over the 
lower hills that lie about the valley of the Eurotas to the 
heights beyond, rising range over range, and overtopped 
in the far distance by the triple peaks of Parnon. It was 
a real April day, when showers and gleams chase each 
other through the sky, and sun and shadow flit across the 
landscape in a way that would give life and loveliness to 
the barest, blankest desert. Here, however, was infinite 
variety on the earth, as well as in the sky. Through the 
trailing skirts of the rain-cloud, whose shade steeped the 
valleys in dark purple, we could see the far-off summits 
bright with sunlight. Then a sudden shower sweeping 
by would blot out the vision of Parnon — his golden crown, 
his purple robe, and imperial state — and, as it passed away, 
exhibit him again tricked out in some new device, which 
in its turn changed and faded before one's fancy could fit 
it with a simile. We paused on the way to drink at a 
fountain, just above which, on a scarcely accessible ledge 
in a steep precipice, is a convent called Panaghia es to 
Pegddi, ' our Lady at the fountain/ Close by, if I mis- 
take not, are traces of old foundations, which perhaps 
mark the site of Demon. 1 

1 Paus. iii. 20, 7. 


Kastania is a village of straggling houses half hidden 
in mulberry-trees. One is surprised to find the mulberry 
so high up on the mountain-side ; but the situation is 
otherwise favourable, in a nook or fold of the hill, sheltered 
from the north winds and lying open to the sun. There 
is no trace of antiquity here. The houses are large and 
new, strongly but roughly built, with an air of rustic 
opulence about them. We occupied the first floor of one 
of the largest, which the family abandoned to us, stipu- 
lating with Alexander for remuneration. At one end 
there was a hearth and fireplace, round which the inmates 
generally slept ; the rest of the long room was occupied 
with sacks of corn, casks, wood, and all manner of farming 
implements and household stuff. "While dinner was pre- 
paring I walked about the village, and was followed at a 
respectful distance by a crowd of young children making 
large eyes of wonder, but not saying a word ; and returning 
to the house, I found all the elders of the place assembled, 
gazing in silent admiration at the culinary operations of 
Constantine and the treasures of Alexander's canteen. 
This scene was repeated whenever we came to any out-of- 
the-way place, and our people seemed to have implicit 
confidence in the honesty of these curious rustics. On one 
occasion only was anything missing, and then it was the 
good wife of the house herself who was suspected of having 
broken the laws of the Hospitable Zeus. 

"We left Kastania at six next morning. There was a bright 
sun shining, and a fresh wind blowing, as we rode up the 
mountain. The path winds with easy gradients over crum- 
bling shale. "We soon came among the black pines, which, 
as if to show their hardihood, seem to grow best in places 
where the rocks are roughest, and where there is least shelter 


from the storm. Interspersed here and there were smooth, 
sheltered slopes, where grew knolls of chesnut-trees not 
yet in leaf, and looking as if dwarfed and stunted by the 
cold, their trunks deep in dry fern — the common English 
brake — which by an odd coincidence is called fioaya by 
the modern Greeks. In two hours Ave reached the top of 
the pass, which I suppose to be between 4000 and 5000 
feet above the sea ; a level plain with gable ends of moun- 
tain on the right hand and on the left. Hence we looked 
over the bay of Kalamata — the Messenian gulf glassy 
smooth, but with a narrow rim of white where it swept 
inward in a long curve to join the flat beach. Beyond the 
bay rose the rocky promontory of Modon, and beyond 
that again the sea. A low bank of level white cloud, 
which lay along the far horizon, distinguished between 
the liquid azure of the water and the sky. 

On the western side the mountain is barer and the 
path steeper. Near the top is loose schist; then, as in 
the descent of Artemisium, we come upon grey and blue 
slate with the edges uppermost, alternating here and there 
with limestone, mingled, as is the slate, with quartz. About 
half-way down I saw a solitary block of red granite. We 
saw at some distance on the right the village of Anastasova, 
with a convent standing apart; and on the left Sitzova, a 
grim, sombre place among olive-grounds and ploughed 
fields, the soil of which is saved from being swept down 
by the rains by a series of artificial terraces. Thanks to 
their almost impregnable position, these people contrived 
to maintain themselves in a state of qualified independence 
of the Mussulmans — that is to say, like the neighbouring 
Mainotes, they were sufficiently strong to make terms 

o 2 


with the oppressors, and paid a tribute on condition of 
being left alone. They plume themselves much, we were 
told, even to this day, on their invincibility, and claim to 
be the descendants of the ancient Spartans. f The ancient 
Messenians ' would be a more probable boast, were not all 
such vauntings estopped by the palpably Sclavonian names 
which the villages bear, and which prove the inhabitants 
to have about as much claim to Hellenic descent as the 
citizens of Warsaw. 1 

At ten o'clock we crossed a stream and passed through 
the village of Tzeruitsa, surrounded, like the others, with 
orchards, cherry-trees, and olive-grounds. Each house 
stands detached from its neighbours, and is surrounded by 
its own court- yard. The door of the house is in the first 
floor, accessible by a ladder or wooden staircase easily 
removeable. Clearly security against a sudden attack 
has been the thought uppermost in the builder's mind. 

From this place we proceed to climb over one of the 
lateral ridges of the mountain. The ascent of the north 
side takes about forty minutes, and a steep descent on the 
south brings us in another hour to the village of Lada. 
Below this we came to a halt, nothing loth, in a shady 
place by the bed of a stream, close to a picturesque little 
water-mill, overgrown, like all the water-mills of the 
country, with a profuse vegetation of feathery ferns and 
flowering cyclamen. Here we lay down to rest ; while 

1 The Greek Chronicle of the Conquest, to which I have before re- 
ferred, calls the inhabitants of this part of Taygetus McXtyyoi, and 
speaks of them as a tribe apart, separate and distinct from the Pcopmoi, 
i. e. the Greeks. They were dvdpunovs a\a£nviKovs k ot> <rt($avTai 
avGivrqv (line 1668). 


the cook gathered sticks, lit a fire, and prepared our usual 
mid-day meal — tea -with a slice of lemon in it, Russian 
fashion, where milk was not to be had — a dish of cutlets 
or fried eggs, bread and honey. Our dragoman-in-chief 
spread the table and served as waiter; and the horses 
were left to graze, under the eye of the two agoyates, 
Pericles and Alcibiades. The rigid abstinence which these 
two observed — iu spite of the heterodox example of their 
elders — did not seem in the least to impair their strength 
and activity. They had been six hours on foot without 
breaking their fast, and after all they broke it with no- 
thing stronger than bread and olives — their constant diet 
for six weeks before. The most stalwart Englishman 
would have broken down under such a regimen. All the 
nations of Southern Europe — Spaniards, Italians, Greeks 
— endure privations much better than northern nations; 
a fact which must be borne in mind when, in the history 
of ancient Greek warfare, we read of armies marching 
longer distances in shorter time than would be possible 
with French, or German, or English troops even without 
a train of artillery. Our troops require more elaborately 
prepared food, and more of it. The ' food for three days' 
which an old Greek soldier carried in his knapsack would 
scarcely serve a modern English soldier for one day. 

Another rugged and steep ascent has to be made before 
we are clear of the winding defiles — ' the folds/ as the 
ancients called them — of the mountain, and see the plain 
at our feet. In rounding the shoulder of this last hill 
and looking back there is a wide and wild prospect of the 
sweeping lines of Taygetus ; and below, at our feet, in the 
very heart of the hills, the quiet village of Lada, nestling 


among its blossoms and gardens like a delicate gem in 

rude barbaric setting. This is the only part of the whole 

route which has the slightest claim to be called dangerous. 

The narrow path hangs over one precipice, and another 

precipice hangs over it ; but a traveller in the Alps passes 

such places daily and hourly without noticing them. But 

the path, if not dangerous, is exceedingly toilsome. It is 

over a rock hard in itself, and filled with nodules harder 

still ; so that, instead of being tracked, it is honeycombed 

by the feet of mules and horses. Just as we commenced 

the descent a thunderstorm burst upon us with unusual 

violence. The vivid flashes were followed, with alarming 

rapidity, by a series of short, sharp cracks of thunder, as 

if an aerial rifle-brigade were firing by platoons, and the 

fire returned from a whole corps of echoes ambushed on 

the hill. The rain came down in sheets, and, filling up 

the honeycombs, converted the path into a torrent-bed. 

We had reason to admire the surefootedness of our sorry 

steeds, which plashed, and slid, and scrambled along 

without once falling. When the storm cleared away we 

saw the groves of Kalamata just below us, glistening in 

the evening sun without a breath to stir their leaves. 

Then leaving the stony mountain waste, we entered upon 

the enclosed ground, through which ran narrow tracks cut 

deep between sandy banks, and bordered on either side 

by hedges of gigantic cactus. The hoofs of our cavalcade, 

which had clinked so long upon the rocks, were suddenly 

silent, muffled in sand ; the air felt warm and moist, like 

that of a hothouse, and was heavy with the odour of orange 

and lemon flowers. 



TT7~E went to the khan, but found it crowded with guests 
eagerly awaiting the termination of Lent, and evi- 
dently prepared to make a night of it. In this dilemma 
we inquired for the house of the English vice-consul, and 
were directed to one of the best houses in the town. The 
owner, Mr. Londariotis, hastened out to meet us, insisted 
upon our lodging with him, gave up his best room to our 
use, and furnished our table with the best wine in his 
cellar. "VYe felt this kindness the more because there is 
no salary attached to the office ; he owed England nothing. 
It may be asked, How does England find people willing to 
do her work on these terms ? The answer is, that the 
appointment stamps the receiver with a character for 
trustworthiness, and gives him rank, like a commercial 
order of merit. Our host was vice-consul for Russia also, 
and one or two other countries. On the following day, 
Easter Sunday, however, the British flag waved alone 
from the roof — perhaps to do us especial honour. On the 
night of Easter-even every church is crowded. There is 
a long service appointed for the occasion, and timed so as 
to last till past midnight. The moment it is over, out 
pour the congregation, howling and screaming with delight. 
They rush from church to church, meeting with other con- 


gregations just released and similarly disposed ; or, if they 
find any church in which the service is not yet done, they 
insult and triumph over the laggards. Some have pro- 
vided themselves with squibs and crackers, which they 
fling up against the windows or in at the door ; every man 
who has a gun or pistol to fire, fires it ; and those who 
have neither, shout at the top of their voices. When their 
powder and lungs are exhausted, they all hasten home to 
a surfeit of roast lamb. On that night, too, sobriety — 
generally the most exemplary of Greek virtues — ' ceases 
to be sober/ Man, woman, and child share alike in the 
late revel. And thus the holy orthodox church welcomes 
the dawn of the Resurrection. 

A range of hills, hillocks by comparison, the last and 
lowest of the spurs of Taygetus, ends towards the south- 
west in an abrupt descent to a level plain, the alluvium of a 
torrent which, issuing from behind this range, rounds the 
promontory, and spreads itself over a wide bed, at right 
angles to its former course. On this promontory stands 
a medieval castle in ruins ; and on the plain at its foot, on 
the left bank of the stream, the flourishing town of Kala- 
mata. The site of the castle is exactly such as the 
ancients would have chosen to found a city upon ; and we 
may be certain that some city stood here, although not a 
trace of wall or tower or temple can be discovered. The 
circumstantial evidence is strong enough in the absence of 
direct testimony. There is also every reason to believe 
that this city was Pherce, or Pharce. In all respects but 
one the situation tallies with the indications of the topo- 
graphers. Strabo describes Pharce as being five, and 
Pausanias states that Pherce was six, stades from the sea. 


Now Kalamata is nine or ten. This is to be accounted 
for by the rapid accumulation of the deposit brought down 
by the torrent, which has thrust out the sea half a mile 
in the course of seventeen or eighteen centuries. There 
are instances in which the land has encroached upon the 
sea, from similar causes, much more rapidly than here. 
Ravenna and Yelez Malaga occur to me as I write. The 
bed of the river is crossed by a long wooden bridge. All 
about the town are groves of oranges, lemon-trees, olives, 
and mulberries; and towards the shore, fields of maize and 
cotton. The water is all, at this season, diverted for irri- 
gation or absorbed in the sand and gravel before it reaches 
the sea. Its course is marked by a double line of 
oleanders, even now, in this sunny, sheltered corner, 
coming into flower. We walked by its banks to the shore, 
where is no pier or sign of sea-port, only a lonesome cus- 
tom-house for taking toll upon the goods laden or unladen 
in the open roadstead beyond. A single ship was riding 
at anchor outside. The port of Phara was only a 
■ summer anchorage/ as now. In case of storm, vessels 
would run for shelter to Kitries on one side of the bay, 
or Petalidi on the other. 

Having a special letter of introduction to the nomarch 
of Messenia, whose head-quarters are at Kalamata, we 
proceeded, accompanied by the vice-consul, to deliver it. 
There was some little demur at the door about admitting 
us ; however, the vice-consul would brook no denial, and 
carried us to the presence-chamber. There we found the 
nomarch in dishabille, that is to say, a capacious great- 
coat and slippers, and nothing else in particular. This 
was no doubt the cause of the demur, for nothing could 


exceed the affability of our reception. Every man in 
office, I suppose, certainly every Greek in office, likes 
to appear as a dignitary to strangers, and does not 
willingly admit them to, or before his toilette. No man 
is a dignitary to his valet. We found with him two 
friends enjoying this especial degree of intimacy ; an engi- 
neer in government employ who had learnt French, and 
a Bavarian doctor who had not forgotten German. This 
was lucky, for we were not as yet sufficiently familiar with 
the spoken language to follow, much less make a suitable 
reply to, the fluent periods of the nomarch. Thanks to 
these interpreters we had a long conversation. His ap- 
pointment was recent, and had made quite a sensation in 
the little political world of Athens. He had taken an 
active part in the Greek invasion of Thessaly two years 
before, and by nominating him to office the Greek 
cabinet gave an expression of its sympathies, and a back- 
handed slap in the face to the ministers of France and 
England. To my surprise the nomarch plunged at once 
into the subject. He had always, he said, been a devoted 
partisan of the English, the truest and most disinterested 
friends of Greece. The attempt in which he had taken 
part was directed immediately, it was true, against Turkey, 
but remotely against Russia also, for there was nothing 
the Russians would so much dislike as to see the Greeks 
in possession of the provinces which she wanted for herself, 
and so forth. In about an hour after we had taken leave 
the nomarch came to return our call, accompanied by the 
same friends. We had thought him a somewhat shrunken, 
elderly man ; now he was resplendent and rejuvenescent, in 
crimson jacket, ample white tunic, and embroidered greaves. 


This time I had an interesting talk with the engineer. 
He had been employed in surveying for projected roads. 
He had found in various parts of Greece remains of bridges, 
unquestionably Hellenic, the span of which was too wide 
to have been accomplished except by means of an arch. 
He instanced in particular one at Kokino, near Thebes, 
and had no doubt whatever that the ancient Greeks were 
perfectly conversant with the principle of the arch. He 
had examined the passes of Taygetus, and found no traces 
anywhere of a carriage-road between Messenia and Laconia. 
He ridiculed the idea of any one being able by any detour 
to drive in one day from Kalamata to Sparta. I put my 
questions to him with a tacit reference to the passage in 
the Odyssey, which describes the journey of Telemachus 
and the son of Nestor, at the end of the third book. The 
first day they came from Pylos to Pherse. The distance, 
which took us, as we afterwards found, ten hours to ride, 
exclusive of stoppages, may be estimated at thirty-five 
miles ; and on the supposition of a carriage-road, to the 
construction of which the nature of the country presents 
no formidable obstacles, might be easily accomplished by 
the good steeds of Nestor in a day. I assume for the 
nonce the identity of Nestor's Pylos with old Navarino. 
Any other hypothesis involves the first day's journey in 
as much difficulty as the second. At Pherse they put up 
at the house of Diodes, son of Orsilochus, and spent the 
night. Now comes the material difficulty : ' And soon 
as the daughter of the prime appeared, rosy-fingered 
Dawn, they yoked the horses and mounted the gay 
chariot, and forth they drove from the porch and 
sounding corridor ; and the son of Nestor flogged his 


horses to their speed, and the pair, nothing loth, flew 
onward. And they came to a wheat-growing plain, and 
thenceforth they made good speed, so well their swift 
steeds drew. And the sun set, and all the roads grew 
dark. And they came to hollow Lacedsemon, cleft 
with glens, and they drove to the hall of famous 

The plain sense of these words is that Telemachus and 
Pisistratus drove a pair of horses in one clay from Pherse 
to Sparta. They will bear no other construction. And 
yet this is a physical impossibility. A road over Taygetus 
w r ould be a work w T hich might challenge comparison with 
that over the Simplon. It would have been renowned all 
over ancient Hellas, sung by poets, chronicled by his- 
torians. But there is not a tittle of evidence, documentary 
or local, to show that it ever existed. It never did exist ; 
and Telemachus no more drove in one day from Pherse to 
Sparta, than his father descended to Hades by way of 
Gibraltar. Fact says one thing ; the poem says another. 
The simplest plan would be to acquiesce, and leave to each 
its own sphere, instead of twisting both with laborious 
effort in order to bring them together. The critics and 
commentators who devote themselves to this futile industry 
find no lack of material. The geography of Homer is full 
of similar difficulties — so full, indeed, that Mr. Grote re- 
nounces in despair all attempt to criticise his map of the 
Peloponnese. The youthful achievements of Nestor against 
the people of Elis, as related by himself in the eleventh 
book of the Iliad (lines 670, sqq.), cannot be reconciled 
with the country which is their supposed theatre. Of the 
seven cities which Agamemnon offers to Achilles, ' all 


near the sea, marching with sandy Pylos/ 1 those which 
can be identified are not anywhere near Pylos, to say 
nothing of the historical difficulty — viz., that if they were 
near Pylos, Agamemnon would not have had them to give, 
and the explanation of Colonel Leake that that was the 
reason why he so readily offered them. 

I take one more instance, a notable instance, from the 
Odyssey (b. ix. 21, sqq.) : e I dwell in sunny Ithaca .... 
and around it lie islands, many very near to each other j 
Dulichium, and Same, and woody Zakynthos; but itself 
lieth low, farthest out in the sea towards the dark (i. e., 
the west) j but the others are apart towards the dawn 
and the sun.' This description, given with a parade of 
minuteness — \iav Trtpitpyug, as Eratosthenes said of other 
Homeric descriptions — is wrong in every particular. Ithaca 
is not low, but mountainous ; it does not lie farthest out 
to sea, but nearest the mainland ; it is north-east of Same, 
i. e. Cephalonia, and north of Zante. But, above all this, 
there is no island at all corresponding with this Dulichium ; 
it is altogether a fiction of the poet's brain. The hypo- 
thesis that he meant by Dulichium one of the little islands 
which form the Echinades group, as the poet of the Iliad 
may have meant when in the catalogue (b. ii. 625) he 
says, ' Dulichium and the Echinse, sacred islands that lie 
bevond sea over against Elis/ is quite irreconcileable with 
its characteristics in the Odyssey. The Dulichium of the 
Odyssey is rich in corn and pasture f it contributes nearly 
as many suitors as all the other islands put together — 
fifty-two out of a total of a hundred and eight. 3 The 

1 II. ix. 149. 2 Od. xvi. 396. 3 lb. xvi. 247. 


island of Santa Maura will not serve our turn. It is not 
large enough ; it does not suit the text of the Iliad ; it 
•was, being then a peninsula, in all probability the country 
called Akte j 1 it is north of Ithaca, while Dulichium lay 
to the south in the poet's mind, for Ithaca is on the way 
between it and the Thesprotians. 2 Here, then, Homer 
gives a wrong description of Ithaca, and of its position 
with respect to neighbouring islands; and, to crown all, 
transforms Dulichium — which, if it ever existed, was at 
best only the chief of a group of small islets, mere rocks 
in the sea — into an island as large as Zante and Cephalonia 
put together. I give these as a sample of the dilemmas 
out of which those critics must extricate themselves who 
insist upon making Homer the father of geography as 
well as poetry. There are not wanting critics who are 
prepared to affiliate all the sciences upon him. Indeed 
this sect of literary idolators took its rise very early, and 
has counted among its adherents the majority of critics in 
all ages. To these Homerolaters the Iliad and Odyssey are 
a kind of lay Bible, universally infallible, containing not 
merely legend and poetry, which was all the author pro- 
fessed, but all the truths of all sciences expressed or im- 
plied. We may see the growth of an idolatry almost 
similar in our own day, having for its object Shakespeare. 
On the other hand, there have not been wanting men to 
protest against this abandonment of reason and misuse of 
reasoning. In the third century b.c. Eratosthenes declared 
that in matters of geography Homer was not to be trusted 
as a guide ; f for/ he says, ' the aim of every poet is to 

1 Od. xxiv. 376. s lb. xiv. 334. 


interest, not to instruct/ 1 Strabo, himself one of the 
idolators, replies in a manner which shows that he does 
not comprehend the real drift of Eratosthenes. He does 
not go to the root of the matter. The truth is that 
Eratosthenes was a practical man of science, and Strabo 
a pedantic man of letters. Even Strabo throws over the 
authority of Homer when it suits him to do so. In the 
eighth book (p. 359 a) he tells us that Messenia during 
the Trojan war was under the sceptre of Menelaus, and 
did not come into the possession of the Neleidse of Pylos 
till after his death. This is entirely unsupported by any 
direct statement in either poem, and is inferentially con- 
tradicted by the passage in the Iliad, already referred to, 
about the seven cities offered by Agamemnon to Achilles. 
But, it may be said, how can we deny the authority of 
Homer in matters of geography while we admit the 
beautiful appropriateness of his epithets, ' the walled 
Tiryns/ 'the grassy Haliartus/ ' horse-feeding Argos/ 
' sandy Pylos/ and ' hollow Lacedsemon, cleft with glens V 
This is the very inconsistency which Strabo charges upon 
Eratosthenes. 2 The inconsistency, if such there be, is not 
in the critic who observes it, but in the poet himself. 
Sometimes the story and the language are in strict ac- 
cordance with the observed facts of geography and topo- 
graphy, sometimes in striking contradiction. Here is a 
difficulty which we may or may not be able to account 
for; we certainly never shall account for it unless, in the 
first instance, we frankly admit its existence and magni- 

Strabo, p. J, A. — 7roii]rrjs Tras crro^a^erat \(^v)(aycoyias ov 

2 lb. p. 16, B. 


tude. There is a passage in Eothen bearing directly 
on this question, which, familiar though it be, I venture 
to quote once more. I verified it with my own eyes from 
the plain of Troy. 

c Whilst we were at Constantinople, Methley and I had 
pored over the map together ; we agreed that, whatever 
may have been the exact site of Troy, the Grecian camp 
must have been nearly opposite to the space betwixt the 
islands of Imbros and Tenedos — 

fxecrcrrjyvs TevtBoto Kai ' Ipfipov TranraXoecrcrTjs, 

but Methley reminded me of a passage in the Iliad in 
which Neptune is represented as looking at the scene of 
action before Ilion from above the island of Samothrace. 
Now, Samothrace, according to the map, appeared to be 
not only out of all seeing distance from the Troad, but 
to be entirely shut out from it by the intervening Imbros, 
a larger island, which stretches its length right athwart 
the line of sight from Samothrace to Troy. Piously 
allowing that the dread commotor of our globe might 
have seen all mortal doings even from the depths of his 
own cerulean kingdom, T still felt that, if a station were 
to be chosen from which to see the fight, old Homer, so 
material in his ways of thought, so averse from all hazi- 
ness and overreaching, would have meant to give the god 
for his station some spot within reach of men's eyes from 
the plains of Troy. I think that this testing of the poet's 
words by map and compass may have shaken a little of 
my faith in the completeness of his knowledge. Well, 
now I had come, there to the south was Tenedos, and 
here at my side was Imbros, all right, and according to 


the map ; but aloft over Imbros — aloft in a far-away 
heaven was Samothrace, the watch-tower of Neptune. 

'So Homer had appointed it, and so it was; the map 
was correct enough, but could not, like Homer, convey 
the tohole truth. Thus vain and false are the mere human 
surmises and doubts which clash with Homeric writ.' 1 

The critics of whom I have been speaking adopt this 
serio-comic profession of faith in sober earnest, and, be- 
cause in some cases the text of Homer is strikingly 
verified by a comparison with extant topography, infer 
that such verification is possible in all cases. The infer- 
ence is quite unwarranted, not to mention that it assumes 
by the way the identity of authorship for the Iliad and 
Odyssey, the homogeneity of the former poem, and other 
hypotheses which ought first to be proved. I may seem 
to fall into a like error, and to be justly chargeable with 
presumption, if I venture here to state generally the con- 
clusion to which I have come respecting these vexed 
questions without giving the arguments which support it. 
But to do so at proper length would require more space 
than I have to spare, and would inordinately expand this 
already too long digression. I believe, then, that the 
poet of the Mad was familiar with the scenery of the 
plain of Troy, and, therefore, naturally and without con- 
scious effort fitted his story to it, so far as regarded the 
great unalterable features of the landscape ; but I do not 
find any evidence that either the poet of the Iliad or the 
poet of the Odyssey was personally familiar with the 
scenery of Greece. How, then, it may be asked, do we 

1 Eothen, pp. 46, 47. Fifth edition. 


find so many cities of Greece always mentioned, each 
with its own characteristic and descriptive adjective, for, 
as Eratosthenes said, l Homer never throws an epithet 
away V 

As there were brave men before Agamemnon, so before 
' Homer ' there lived and sang many minstrels in Greece. 
Each city had its own heroes, and legends, and its own 
bards to celebrate them. A multitude of smaller epics 
have been absorbed in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and the 
epithets attached unalienably to this city and that, are 
among the relics of those perished songs. And the audi- 
ence required no more. When the Homeric poems were 
chanted at some gathering of Hellenic men the crowd 
assuredly came ' to be interested not instructed/ and a 
poet naturally gives as much licence to his invention as 
his hearers will permit. They were too .much absorbed in 
the tale to question its probability, and did not dream of 
measuring the achievements of the mighty men of old by 
the standard of their degenerate days, 1 but nevertheless 
one may conceive that each man felt a thrill of pleasure 
as he heard his own city mentioned, not without its just 
meed of praise or distinctive mark. Thus the pride of a 
casual Ithacan would be flattered by the words c rough, 
but a right-good nurse of men/ applied to his beloved 
island ; but the blind bard would not receive an obol the 
less for saying that it was west, not east, of Cephalonia. 
The greatest poet fetters his invention and clogs it with 
facts only so far as the public exacts. Among the audience 
which assembled at the Globe theatre one summer after- 

oioi vvv (3poToi fieri. 


noon, a.d. j6ii, to hear a play called The Winter's Tale, 
we may be sure that not one refused his applause because 
the poet had converted Delphos into an island and given 
Bohemia a sea-coast. 

In the castle of Kalamata there is not so much as one 
ancient stone to serve as text for this long sermon. The 
hall of Diocles has perished ; but the castle which occupies 
its site is the birthplace of a more renowned and more 
historical hero, Guillaume de Yillehardouin, Prince of 
Achaia, authentes, or seigneur of the !Morea, f cavaliere di 
grande valore/ as Yillani calls him (vii. 26). Before suc- 
ceeding to the principality he had held this district in 
fief, and hither, at the close of his adventurous life, he 
retired to die. 1 I climbed its crumbling battlements on 
the evening of Easter-day, and watched the sun setting 
behind the Messenian hills. When it was gone, the hills 
were of a rich purple colour, with a fringe of incomparable 
brightness, as if the deep sea of still calm light beyond 
were breaking upon its earthly shore in a long line of re- 
splendent surf. Gradually the flood of light ebbed; then 
radiating bars rose-red shot up into the sky, and by-and- 
bye faded into orange ; and as the colours above grew 
paler and paler, the hills gloomed from purple to indigo, 
from indigo to black, and were dwarfed by darkness. 

A traveller has frequent occasion to remark that the 
places most favourably situated for the ordinary business 
of men furnish least material for the antiquary. This 
castle of Kalamata is now, perhaps for the first time in 
its long history, dismantled and abandoned. It, and the 

Chronique de la Moree, p. 373. 
p 2 


town which it commands, must always have had a two- 
fold importance as a military and as a commercial station. 
The Spartans, until the spirit as well as the land of the 
Messenians had been completely conquered, must have 
maintained a garrison here, for it commands the plain, 
and is at the foot of the most frequented pass into Laconia. 
The Messenians, when they recovered their independence, 
must have defended it as one of their most important fron- 
tier fortresses. In later times it became of paramount con- 
sequence as the key of the lowlands, the stronghold which 
protected the level and fertile lands to the west against 
the depredations of the Mainote tribes — those wild High- 
landers of the Morea. It is true that when Guillaume 
de Champlitte invaded the Morea, in one of the first years 
of the thirteenth century, ' the place was scantily tenanted, 
and was more like a convent than a fortress / ' but that was 
at a time when the Greek empire was utterly paralysed, 
and incapable of protecting peaceful industry or preserving 
the least semblance of social order. As soon as the Franks 
had reconstituted society, Kalamata at once resumed its 
natural importance, and continued to be held with all 
tenacity and watched with all vigilance till their final ex- 
pulsion. Again, it must always have been a centre of 
commerce, because the inconvenience of shipping agricul- 
tural produce in an open roadstead is as nothing when 
compared with the inconvenience and expense of conveying 
it over rough mountains to any natural harbour on either 
side of the gulf. Here a question arises : Why did not 
Epaminondas choose this site for his new city of Messene? 

Chronique de la Moree : Buchon, p. 1 28. 


We may answer, first, that the religious feeling of the 
people centred in Mount Ithome, the national sanctuary ; 
secondly, that the security it afforded against attack was 
far greater; and, thirdly, that at that time the export 
trade was insignificant, and only became of importance 
after the introduction of the silkworm, which, with its 
prey the white mulberry-tree, thrives admirably in this 
genial climate, and of the cotton plant, so suited to the 
moist ground, and after the discovery of the great use to 
which the Vallonia acorn, that abundant fruit of the 
forest, may be applied in dyeing and tanning. 



TX7E took leave of our kind host, and started before 
* seven on Monday morning. I transcribe the pro- 
ceedings of the day from a note-book -which I carried in 
my pocket, and a journal filled up that same evening : — 
' Olive grounds, &c. ; then turn to the left over a marsh, 
along a road, ■which must in wet weather be a very Slough 
of Despond. Frequent streams, crossed by steep-pitched, 
narrow bridges "without parapets. Ditches alive with 
frogs, toads, water-snakes, &c. Cross a larger stream, 
the ancient Pamisus, and get to the village of Nisi — one 
hour forty minutes from Kalamata. This Nisi is on a 
rising ground, a kind of c island' in the flat marsh — 
"whence the name — just as so many places in the flat dis- 
tricts of England have names ending in ' ey/ which means 
the same thing. Saw two lambs roasting on horizontal 
spits over a fire in full sunshine. A whole family sitting 
round, turning the spits, patiently expectant of the Easter 
feast. So intent were they on their "work that they hardly 
looked up as we passed. How different their behaviour 
from that of the fasting peasants of Xerokampo last 
Thursday. In Lent the lesser passions, such as curiosity, 
not being prohibited, have the man all to themselves, and 
swell into the dimensions of vices. Afterwards, back 


comes Gluttony (/cart'p^erat), and resumes his reign with 
all the insolence of a restored tyrant. The other faction 
go into exile and bide their time (eK-rreaovTEg ava^evovai). 
Passing through the village, we waited, till the baggage 
came up, beside a fountain among olive-trees. Sketched 
Taygetus, seen sharp and clear in every line from sum- 
mit to base. At half-past ten reached the river Velika 
— a shallow, sandy stream fringed with willows, alders, 
&c. Bathed under difficulties, and breakfasted under 
a plane-tree. Taygetus still in view 5 but this time piled 
high with bastions of white cloud, casting a deep purple 
shadow on the slopes. 1 Remount at a quarter to one. 
Shrub-covered hills. At ten minutes past two come to 
the edge of a forest. Alexander at a standstill. Hire 
a peasant, at work in a neighbouring field, to guide our 
guide. This is our first specimen of real forest scenery — 
hanging woods, rich with varied green, dashed with bright 
pink. 2 Cross a river at a quarter to three. At half-past 
three halt for twenty minutes under a huge oak on a hill- 
side. Open ground to the east ; then a strip of blue sea, 
backed by Taygetus, visible from here all its length to 
Tseuarus, sprinkled with white Mainote hamlets. Trees on 
all other sides : oak, ilex, maple ; shrubs and plants : large 
lentisks, arbutus, myrtle, dwarf holly, clematis, cistus, white 

1 It brought to my mind the grand line of Milton — ' And hills of 
snow and lofts of piled thunder' — written in vacation time at Cam- 
bridge, at the age of nineteen, long before he had seen Alp or Apen- 
nine, when he had known no higher mountain than Highgate or the 

2 This I found afterwards to be due to the flowers of the Judas- 
tree, which abounds hereabouts. 


heather, white lupin, yellow furze and broom. The latter 
part of the forest all oaks. We emerge at five, by rocky 
paths. A dilapidated causeway. Twilight. Reach Nava- 
rino at half-past seven.' 

As soon as we arrived we inquired for the eparch, pre- 
sented our potent circular letter, and were forthwith in- 
stalled in a large empty room. First the eparch's wife, 
then himself, and then the secretary came to sit with us, 
succeeding each other on duty. It was evidently a point 
of politeness not to leave us by ourselves. Like etiquette 
in general, it was rather a bore to all parties. Hungry, 
weary, and indisposed to talk, we were right glad to be 
left alone at last. 

Next morning we hired a boat, and sailed with a light, 
fair wind, in forty minutes, to Palaio Xavarino, the site of 
one famous campaign and many obscure controversies. 
And first for the controversies. Is this the Homeric 
Pylos, the city of Nestor ? The testimony of antiquity is 
all but unanimous in the affirmative, from Pindar to 
Pausanias, either expressly or by implication. But there 
were on the same side of the Peloponnese two other towns 
of the same name ; and the patriotism of the inhabitants 
would of course lead them to maintain — with or without 
reason, as the fashion of local antiquaries is — that theirs 
was the true Pylos. The claim of the Pylos near Elis is 
easily disproved ; indeed, in Pausanias's time, they only 
asserted that their Pylos was meant by Homer when he 
said, ' The Alpheus flows with broad stream through the 
land of the Pylians.-' 1 The claim of the Triphylian Pylos 

1 II. v. 545- 

A y A A 


/'/,</,. J. 

H .'I I'rulp. 

London .John W. Parka- k Son ,445,Wist Strand* , 


is advocated at great length by Strabo, who urges that the 
cattle-lifting exploit of Nestor 1 could not have been per- 
formed, supposing him to drive his booty all the way from 
Elis to the Messenian Pylos. But, as Col. Leake shows, 
the distance is still too great to be reconciled with the 
narrative; and truly there is not much to choose between 
different degrees of impossibility. Besides, on Strabo's 
hypothesis, the story of Telemachus's driving to Sparta in 
two days is rendered still more improbable, and makes his 
halting at Pherae inexplicable. As I have before said, 
whenever we attempt to make the geography of Homer 
square with hard facts, we lose our labour, and only clear 
up one difficulty by introducing another. This much is 
certain, that the name Pylos is applied by the poet both 
to the city where Nestor lived and the country over which 
he reigned ; and the epithet ' sandy ' is applied to both, 
just as ' horse-feeding Argos' is applied both to the city 
and the plain. Pylos, in this latter sense, must have 
covered a great space in the poet's mental map, for some 
of Nestor's followers lived beside a ford over the Alpheus, 
and certain cities on the Messenian gulf 2 were by the 
borders of ' sandy Pylos/ The number of ships, too, 
which Nestor commanded, only ten fewer than the fleet 
of Agamemnon — ninety, that is to say — points to the 
same conclusion. That the poet knew or cared how far 
the city was from the frontier, I do not believe. No 
fresh light can be thrown on the subject. There certainly 
was an ancient city called Pylos, believed by its inhabi- 
tants and the Greeks in general to be the city of Nestor, 

1 II. x. 669. * lb. ix. 149. 


on the site now called Palaio Navarino, and time has set- 
tled the controversy in its favour by obliterating all vestiges 
of its two rivals. That it was rightly called l sandy' there 
can be no question. The epithet, too, is applicable to the 
whole country along the coast as far as the Alpheus. 

But a more definite interest attaches to this barren 
promontory as the chief scene of the campaign so graphi- 
cally told by Thucydides, 1 which resulted in the capture 
of the four hundred Spartans. Even on this point our 
steps are clogged by a controversy, and our pleasure is 
like to be marred by a doubt. We cannot enjoy our be- 
lief without fighting for it. All the world had been 
agreed as to which was Sphacteria and which Cory- 
phasium, where Demosthenes made his gallant defence, 
and where he and Cleon captured the Spartans, till Dr. 
Arnold started a new theory. He maintained that the 
ruins of Palaio Navarino really stand upon what was 
then the island of Sphacteria, since converted into a 
peninsula by a recent formation of sand, and conse- 
quently Pylos, or Coryphasium, was a point to the 
north on the other side of the little harbour now 
called Boidio Koilia. His great objection to the received 
theory was, that Thucydides's statements as to the length 
of the island and the breadth of the two entrances into the 
harbour were much below the truth. This is certainly a 
difficulty ; but it sinks into nothing compared with the 
difficulties which are to be overcome before Dr. Arnold's 
theory can be accepted. As Mr. Grote has observed, 
Thucydides's narrative presumes the existence of one 
island only in the neighbourhood ; for when the Athenian 

1 Thuc. b. iv. 2, sqq. 

NAYAR1NO. 219 

fleet found Sphacteria occupied by the enemy, they had to 
retire to Prote. It is clear, too, that there was only one 
island of any magnitude, then, in Pausanias's time. ' The 
island of Sphacteria lies in front of the harbour, as Rheneia 
before the anchorage of Delos.' 

Again, Sphacteria was always desert, as Thucydides says, 
while in Palaio Navarino there are unmistakeable traces of 
a city of high antiquity. On the promontory to the 
north there are no traces of habitation at all. This last 
would never have been selected by Demosthenes as the 
most defensible spot on the coast, for it is not defended 
by high abrupt cliffs to the landward side, as is Palaio 
Navarino. But, lastly, there is an objection utterly fatal 
to Dr. Arnold's hypothesis, which, strange to say, has not 
been yet noticed, so far as I know. According to his 
theory, the harbour would have had three entrances instead 
of tioo. In his anxiety to find two entrances narrow 
enough for the Spartans to close with lines of ships (as it 
is said they thought of doing), he has forgotten that he 
has left the largest entrance open for the Athenians to 
sail in. Assuming, then, the truth of the old view, we 
have to account for the discrepancies between the actual 
measurements and those given by Thucydides. His words 
are (b. iv. c. 8) : ' The island called Sphacteria, stretch- 
ing across the harbour, and lying close to it, makes it 
secure and the entrances narrow ; on the one side, over 
against the Athenian wall and Pylos, sailing room for two 
ships abreast ; and on the other side, towards the other 
part of the mainland, room for eight or nine ; and it was 
woody and untracked, being desert, and in length about 
fifteen stades, more or less. These entrances the Lace- 


dsemonians intended to close by mooring their ships with 
the bows foremost/ Now it does not appear from any 
part of the narrative that the historian had himself visited 
the place. In the preface to his work he tells us that he 
made diligent inquiries among the actors in the war, but 
he does not hint that he took any pains to inspect the 
localities personally. His information on this matter was 
secondhand, and the distances were guessed at by his in- 
formants. There is, as I have before said, a natural ten- 
dency in men to under-estimate distances on desert ground 
and by sea, when there are no marked objects of known size 
to enable them to form a just judgment by the eye. He 
similarly understates the width of the straits nearNaupactus 
(b. ii. c. 86). With regard to the length of the island, too, 
the number kV (25) may easily have been corrupted in the 
manuscripts to 1 V (15). A similar instance of error occurs 
in the same narrative where, according to our present test, 
he states the distance from Sparta to Pylos at four hundred 
stadia, about forty-five and a half miles. The distance, 
supposing the ordinary road over Taygetus to have passed 
then, as now, by Kastania, must have been nearly seventy 
miles. It is possible that the transcribers may have mis- 
read y ' for v', and the true reading may have given six 
hundred stades, i.e., a little over sixty-eight miles. Again, 
the action of the waves has no doubt widened both en- 
trances. In the northern one particularly, I observed 
rocks fallen into the water which have at no distant period 
been attached to the shore ; but, making all allowance on 
this score, it is impossible to suppose that the width 
Thucydides assigns to them could have been enlarged to 
their present dimensions of one hundred and fifty and four- 


teen hundred yards respectively. It must be observed, 
however, that the Spartans never did close them by moor- 
ing ships, and secondhand information as to what they 
intended to do caunot be implicitly trusted. It is, I think, 
clear, moreover, that Thucydides derived his information 
chiefly from the Athenian side, from some one present 
among the soldiers of Demosthenes ; for their proceedings 
are detailed with the minute touches of an eye-witness, 
and we only know of the Spartan proceedings what might 
have been observed first from Pylos and afterwards on 
board the Athenian fleet. It is difficult, too, to see how 
they could ever have closed the northern entrance in the 
manner supposed, exposed as they would have been to 
missiles from the Athenians on the wall. 

Agreeing in this with Colonel Leake and other writers, 
I do not agree with them in supposing the ancient har- 
bour to have been on the northern edge coincident exactly 
with the modern one, and the marsh of Osman Aga a level 
plain ; for if so, why did not the land force of the Lacedae- 
monians attack the wall towards the harbour, at the foot 
of which there was a level space — c good landing ground V 
Yet we find that this part of the wall, with the ground 
beloAv, was only accessible by sea (c. 13). I conceive, then, 
that the old harbour must have extended over a consi- 
derable part of the present marsh, and must have washed 
the base of the precipitous cliff which forms the eastern 
side of Pylos, thus preventing the land troops from at- 
tacking the wall at the south-eastern corner towards the 
harbour. The level ground and good landing-place below 
was probably formed by the sand -bank, then in course of 
formation, which now extends right across to the hills, 


separating the harbour from the marsh. Here it was that 
these besieged ' dug through the shingle to get at such 
water as they were likely to find there/ The Athenian 
wall was high at this point ; not because they expected an 
attack there any more than from the sea-board, but be- 
cause they had a base of steep rock some ten or twelve 
feet high to build upon. It is evident that the marsh is 
now being filled up by drifting sand and the detritus of 
streams, and not deepening year by year, as it probably 
would if it had been a recent formation ; indeed, all ex- 
ternal testimony goes to prove that it is no such thing. 
In the Livre de la Conqueste, written before 1346 a. d., we 
find that the harbour of Navarino was called by the 
French ' Port de Junch/ no doubt from the reedy 
marsh which formed part of it. 1 The Lacedsemonian 
troops, which attacked from the land side, must have 
directed their efforts against the wall built along the 
steep slope towards the north-western side of the hill ; but 
so difficult was the approach, that they made no impres- 
sion ; they are hardly mentioned in the story. Close to 
the place where the Athenians dug for brackish water, a 
well has been sunk, probably by the Franks who built the 
castle. The water is excellent. Accompanied by one of 
our sailors, called Timocleon, we made a tour of the pro- 
montory. At the south-west corner, facing the open sea, 
is a piece of comparatively level ground, edged with a 
border of rugged, sharp-edged rocks shelving down into 
the water — the pa\ut of the historian. On the inner side 
of these Demosthenes had built his wall ; and here Brasidas 

1 Ed. Buchon, p. 4 r . 

\ AVAR I NO. 223 

ran his ship ashore, and made his desperate efforts to land. 
Here the spear struck him as he stepped upon the landing- 

"We then climbed up to the medieval castle which 
crowns the summit. It is of vast size, with an outei' 
and an inner court built with rough stones and mortar 
filled in with small pebbles. We saw nowhere any 
trace of the Hellenic walls of which the French surrey 
speaks, but we found their plan so grossly inaccurate in 
other points, that we did not set much store by their as- 
sertion on this. "We descended by a steep and even dan- 
gerous path to a cave on the north side ; no doubt the 
cave described by Pausanias as being within the city, 
where Xeleus used to keep his cows. It is also famous 
in legend as being the cave where Hermes hid the herd 
stolen from Apollo ; a precocious manifestation of divine 
power commemorated in the ode of Horace beginning 
' Mercuri facunde/ Below this are remains of Avails, both 
Cyclopean and Hellenic, plain for all folk to see, but 
scarcely indicated by the French survey. I found one 
stone seven feet by three and three. There are two oblong 
cisterns hewn in the rocks by the shore, and five or six 
flights of steps leading down to the little harbour of 
Boidio Koilia. The innermost rim of the harbour is a 
bank of loose sand. Between this and the marsh grow 
scattered bushes of lentisk and juniper and a few tufts of 
coarse grass. I counted seventy fine cattle, such as would 
have charmed Neleus or Hermes, though it was a mystery 
to me how with such pasture they got so fat. 

On our return we landed on Sphacteria, and walked the 
length of the island. It is still wooded in places ; I saw 


lentisks, wild olives, and ilex, some as much as ten or 
twelve feet in height. The mischievous habit, so 
common in modern Greece, of burning the trees in order 
to improve the next year's grass, prevents them from 
attaining their natural growth. In the level ground 
where the Spartan camp must have been we found a 
shepherd with his flock. There is a well nine fathoms 
deep, into which he let down his leathern bucket and 
gave us water ; it was slightly sweet, not unpleasant to 
the taste. Every part of Thucydides's story, as to the final 
capture of the four hundred, can be identified on this still 
desert and unchanged island. Here the Helots ran their 
boats on shore when they brought provisions over-night ; 
here the Athenians landed ; here the Messenians crept 
round under the cliffs unperceived, to take the Spartans 
in the rear ; here they made their final stand, and at last 
waved their hands in token of surrender. No scepticism, 
no counter-theory can hold its ground after a visit to the 

We were an hour and a half in recrossing the har- 
bour, tacking this way and that, obliged at last to row. 

The name Navarino, made so familiar to modern Europe 
by the great battle of the 20th October, 1827, comes from 
Avarino, eg tov Afiaplvov, corrupted 'Nafiaplvo. 1 Avarino 
is generally supposed to be derived from the settlement of 
a colony of Avars ; those Normans of an earlier time, 
who, with the aid of the Sclavonians, their subject allies, 
conquered the greater part of the Peloponnese at the close 

1 So, vice versa, vdpdrjij is corrupted into ap8r)£: And so from the 
old English a ncdder comes the modern English an adder. 


of the sixth century of our era. 1 In the time of Heraclius 
' the Avars made considerable exertions to complete the 
conquest of Greece ; and attempting to carry their predatory 
expeditions into the Archipelago, they attacked the eastern 
coast of Greece, which had hitherto been secure from their 
invasions. In order to execute this design, they obtained 
ship-builders from the Lombards, and launched a fleet of 
plundering barks in the ^Igean/ 2 Very probably this 
"was the very harbour from which their piratical armament 
issued. It was conveniently placed for communication 
with their Lombard allies, and near to an inexhaustible 
supply of timber for ship-building. But I venture to 
propose another derivation of the name as at least plau- 
sible. We have no authority for saying that any Avars 
settled here ; and we do know, on the authority of the 
Livre de la Conqueste, that Nicolas de Saint Omer built, 
at the close of the thirteenth century, the great castle 
whose ruins still crown the summit. ' Cellui Monseignor 
Nicole estoit moult gentils horns, estrays de roial lignage 
et fu riches desmcsurement dou grant avoir que il prist 
k la princesse d'Antioche ; de quoi il fist fermer le noble 
chastel de Saint Omer pardevant la cite d'Estives (vid. 
Thebes) qui fu le plus beau et riche mauoir de toute 
Romanie .... Et puis ferma le chastel de port de 
lunch' (p. 274) ; and to make it quite certain that the 
last words refer to the castle in question, the Romaic 
translation gives — 

kcu /xerot ravra eKTiaev to Kacrrpov rov Aftaplvov. 

The castle which he built at Thebes was, as we see, 

1 Finlay, Greece under the Romans, p. 418. a Ibid. p. 420. 



called after his own name ; and similarly a castle which 
his nephew and namesake built in the hills near Elis, was 
called after its founder, and corrupted by the Greeks into 
Santamermo. Now, dropping the ( Sant/ we have a word 
so like Afiapivo, that I cannot but think this to be the 
true derivation of the name. Few would at first sight 
suspect the connexion between Navarino and Saint Omer. 
The castle was seized and occupied in the fifteenth 
century by the Turks. It was supplied with water by an 
aqueduct constructed probably by the same noble and 
prudent lord ; but kept in repair, as it appears, by the 
Turks of the seventeenth century. The year after the 
battle of Lepanto (1572), the Turks built the fort of New 
Navarino at the point which had now become, in a mili- 
tary sense, the key of the harbour. The northern entrance 
had been gradually silting up, and the Turks helped to 
make it impassable by throwing in large stones. The 
other entrance, wide as it was, could be commanded by 
cannon from the fort. In 1656 the old fortress, in which 
they still maintained a garrison, because the guns of an 
enemy in possession of the post would command the har- 
bour, was attacked by the Venetians and their foreign 
mercenaries, under the command of Otto Kcenigsmark, 
' the uncle of his nephew ' Marshal de Saxe. ' Being de- 
pendent/ says Mr. Finlay, 1 ' for its supply of water on an 
aqueduct, it immediately capitulated/ This was an ex- 
cuse invented by the Turks to palliate their cowardice. 
Even Avhen the aqueduct was cut off, they had still a well 
of good pure water. New Navarino surrendered soon 
after, without any excuse whatever. 

1 History of G-reece, vol. v. p. 215. 


The Venetians evacuated Navarino on the approach of 
the Turks in 17 15, when the latter, to the great joy of the 
Greek peasantry, reconquered the Morea. The Russians 
received a still warmer welcome when they occupied 
Navarino in 1770, in their foolish expedition to revo- 
lutionize Greece. They soon abandoned their deluded 
allies to the tender mercies of Turks and Albanians, and 
in the treaty of Kainardji, j 7 74, merely stipulated for an 
amnesty without making any provision to ensure its ful- 
filment. With all its military importance and its splendid 
harbour, Navarino is a place of no traffic. The country 
about is chiefly forest and pasture land ; there are no 
practicable roads ; and so Kalamata engrosses all the 
export trade of Messenia. A more lifeless place I never 
saw. A German doctor, who passed an evening with us, 
complained bitterly. He had held an appointment under 
government, and been deprived of it by the law against 
aliens passed by the successful revolutionists of 1843. 
Since then he vegetated rather than lived among an 
unfriendly people, who prefer being poisoned by orthodox 
quackery to being healed by heretical science. 

The case of these poor Germans is a very hard one, 
and merits the attention of his majesty Louis of Bavaria, 
by the infection of whose Philhellenism they were induced 
to try their fortune in Greece, not calculating on the bitter 
miso-Frankism of the inhabitants. 

Q 2 



A PRIL 30. — We left Navarino at six o'clock, and taking 
-*-*- the road by which we had come two days before, 
reached the forest at half-past eight, and halted for break- 
fast at ten. We chose a shady oak close to a guard- 
house, which is the head-quarters of a detachment of 
nomophylakes — the rural police, or mounted gens-d'armes 
of Greece. Two of these functionaries accompanied us to 
show the way; for the route now diverged from our 
former track, and was as new to our dragoman as to our- 
selves. The way was indeed exceedingly difficult to find, 
and puzzled even the gens-d'armes more than once. After 
getting out of the wood, we had to cross a succession of 
low ridges, divided by streams running between steep 
banks covered with thick bushes. Nothing like a path 
was to be seen. Here and there were patches of cultiva- 
tion, but we did not come to any village till five in the 
afternoon. The multitude of Judas-trees all in flower, 
and the rich red of the broken earth-banks, contrasted 
with the various green tints of herbage and foliage, gave 
to the landscape a fantastic patchwork look such as would 
not be credited in a picture. Our course was further 
hindered by the repeated tumbles of a wretched overladen 
baggage horse, and it was growing dark while we were still 


scrambling over a rocky hill-side without having any rest- 
ing-place in prospect. Suddenly we came upon a huge 
ruined wall, and we found ourselves on the site of Messene. 
We had, indeed, passed over it without being aware, and 
were now at c the gate of Laconia/ A steep path to the 
right led down to the convent of Vourkamo, where we 
were to pass the night. There was a considerable pre- 
liminary difficulty in finding the door — then a parley 
through the keyhole. ' Tines eisthe V ' Who are you V 
said a voice from within. — ' Angloi/ said we. — ' Lordoi/ 
added Alexander, for thus the dragoman designates all 
foreign tourists ; and we were forthwith admitted. 

A wild -looking monk, with long black hair and beard 
and gown, candle in hand, conducted us to the room 
set apart for guests — a large bare room upstairs with a 
divan, or, in Yorkshire phrase, a settle, covered with carpet 
at each end. Here we were visited by the abbot and all 
the brethren, and treated with sweetmeats, coffee, and 
liqueur. Our arrival gave evident pleasure. It was a 
break in the monotony of life at Vourkamo. We asked 
and answered many questions. In the monastery, we 
were told, there are fifteen regular monks or ' caloyers/ ' 
and counting the lay brethren and dependent peasants — 
georgoi and poimenes — sixty persons in all attached to 
the establishment. The building, as we found next morn- 
ing, is in a beautiful situation, on the steep slope of Aio 
Vasili, the ancient Euan, looking over the rich, well- 
watered plain of Messenia, with the sea to the right and 

1 ' Caloyer,' i. e. icakoyepos, a barbarous compound of Kcikos ye'pw 
and meaning ' monk.' (y in modern Greek before e and t has the 
sound of y nearly.) 


serried ranks of mountains in front and on the left. Like 
all convents in Greece, the building, as an achievement of 
architecture, does not satisfy the expectations raised by the 
ruins and traditions of the monasteries of Western Europe. 
Outside all is strong and solid, inside all is mean and 
rickety, as if it had been built with a double purpose of 
resisting the violence and not tempting the cupidity of 
brigands or other constituted authorities. Outside, one 
doubts whether it is most like a barn or a jail, inside our 
comparativeness halts between a khan and a college. There 
is a quadrangle with a church on one side, and on the other 
three an upper and lower range of cells, with a wooden 
balcony all along. The convent is almost enclosed with 
an orchard and a grove of maples and cypresses. One of 
the hangers-on of the place is a poor idiot who was always 
' mopping and mowing' in the court, and whenever he caught 
sight of a stranger ran up to him with a sudden outbreak 
of gabble and grimace. These unfortunate people are 
treated with peculiar tenderness in Greece — at least so far 
as my observation went j and that not from pity or per- 
sonal fear, but from a kind of superstitious reverence. 
This same reverence was strongly felt by the ancient 
Greeks, notwithstanding their habit of pelting mad people 
with stones. 1 Further experience would probably have 

Arist. Aves, 525. Peisthetserus stimulates the dormant esprit 
de corps of the birds, by relating the indignities they suffer at the 
hands of men — ' They actually go the length of pelting you as they 
do mad people.' I have more than once observed in an English 
village, that the favourite amusement of the children was throwing 
stones at an idiot. The Tyrolese, too, who have the reputation of 
being a friendly and kindly people, sometimes treat their cretins with 
revolting cruelty. 


shown that in modern Greece, too, the treatment of 
lunatics is not uniformly tender. A madman is always a 
stranger — no length of habit can make him familiar; we 
may pity him and even tolerate his presence, but we can- 
not sympathize with, or love him. He is always regarded 
with awe, fear, pity, and distrust ; and among educated folk 
treated with uniform care, prompted by a mixture of these 
feelings. The ruder a people are, the more distinct are 
their impulses, the more fickle their conduct; hence, by 
children and rustics the unhappy madman is alternately 
worshipped and pelted. I think within the walls of the 
Panaghia at Vourkamo, among the grave fathers, poor 
Andreopoulos is safe from the latter fate. Before taking 
leave we had again to partake of preserves and liqueur with 
the Hegoumenos (or abbot). In return for the shelter 
and hospitality of the convent, every stranger who can 
afford it is expected to make a donation, as at the St. 
Bernard. One of the brethren asks you to come and see 
the church, and particularly directs your attention to a 
picture of the Panaghia which you cannot look at without 
seeing the poor-box below. After we had started for 
Messene we met a stout old gentleman in splendid attire, 
riding an equally stout cob. This proved to be the 
demarch of that ilk, who, having received notice of our 
visit from the nomarch at Kalamata, was on his way to 
make an early call upon us; one more instance of that 
Greek courtesy which we rarely, if ever, found to fail. 

The walls of Messene are the most perfect example extant 
of Grecian fortification on a large scale. Thanks also to 
Diodorus, Pausanias, and others, we know the date, the 
motive, the manner of their erection, and the very cere- 


monies employed in celebrating the completion of the 
work. Additional interest is given to them by the fact 
that the great mover and director of the undertaking was 
Epaminondas, whose gentleness, bravery, and magnani- 
mity made him the most chivalrous character of ancient 
Greece and the favourite of all modern times ; like Bayard, 
' without fear and without reproach/ but greater than 
Bayard, because, in addition to unflinching courage and 
unstained honour, he had the skill of a consummate 
general, the wisdom of a far-seeing statesman, and that 
highest quality of all — which results from the harmonious 
combination of all other high qualities — power over the 
minds of men. 

' The city is encompassed not by Tthome only, but also 
by Mount Euan on the side turned towards the Pamisus. 
Bound Messene is a wall. The whole circuit is made of 
stone, and there are towers and battlements built in it. 
Now I never saw the walls of Babylon or Susa, nor ever 
spoke with any person Avho had seen them, but the best 
fortifications I have seen are those of Ambrysus in Phocis, 
and Byzantium, and Bhodes, and the Messenian wall is 
stronger than any of them.' 1 Standing by the so-called 
gate of Laconia, we are on a slight depression in the ridge 
which joins the south-eastern corner of Mount Ithome to 
the north-eastern of Mount Euan. The walls run along 
this ridge as it rises towards Mount Euan, and then turn 
sharp off", leaving the upper part of that hill outside. The 
words of Pausanias are strictly correct." On the other 

1 Paus. iv. 31, 5. 
2 Colonel Leake remarks (Travels in Peloponnesus, i. p. 293), 
There is one passage and one only in the description of Messene by 


end of the ridge the wall turns at right angles, and climbs 
the steep side of Ithome till it is rendered at once impos- 
sible and unnecessary by a perpendicular rock. At the 
top of this rock it recommences, and is furnished, not with 
towers at intervals, but with buttresses, like those of the 
peribolus below the temple of Zeus-Olympius at Athens. 
Along the ridge is an inner wall, not quite parallel to the 
other. Another Avail runs from the gate of Laconia along 
the foot of Mount Ithome ; the object of which doubtless 
was to afford another place of refuge, and a new line of 
defence in case the lower city were taken. This wall has 
been furnished with apparently circular towers ; or, per- 
haps, the bases only were circular and the towers square, 
as was the case in the Peiraic wall. To the right of the 
gate is a tower about nine feet square, with door two and 
a half feet wide, window, and embrasure. Some six feet 

Pausanias which I cannot reconcile with actual appearances. He 
says, if I have rightly understood his words, that the circuit of the 
city comprehended a part of Mount Euan towards the Pamisus, 
whereas the existing walls strongly testify that no part of Euan was 
included in the city, nor even any part of Ithome towards the Pa- 
misus. May it have been, that before the time of Pausanias the 
Messenians had partly abandoned the old enclosure and built houses 
on the slope of Mount Euan ? or is there not rather some corruption 
in the author's text ?' It seems to me that the author's words are 
both free from corruption and consonant with the facts of the case. 
Here they are, Trepie^Tai ov rfj idcofxj] povov aWa km. eVt rbv Hapicrov 
to. rerpap.piva vivo ttjs ~Evdv. The word nepu^eTat does not imply 
that either mountain was within tbe city, though undoubtedly a part 
of both was. Almost the same phrase is used with respect to Phi- 
galia (viii. 41, 5) : irepu-^eraL 8e f] $>iya\ia opecriv iv dpiaTepq pzv 
vtto tov KaXovpevov KorwXt'ov .... current 8e ttjs Trokecos is recraa- 
paKovra to KotvXiov paXicrra o-radiovs. Phigalia is encompassed with 
mountains which are four miles outside the walls. 


above the present level of rubbish are holes for beams, 
intended to support an upper floor. From this point a 
steep and stony path leads to the top of Ithome. We 
took our horses, but dismounted in pity for them, and 
walked. On the north side of the summit is some poly- 
gonal masonry supporting an earthbank, which may per- 
haps belong to the ancient citadel of Ithome — the Ithome 
of Aristomenes. The Hellenic walls and square stones of 
the temple have doubtless been used in the construction 
of the now-deserted metoki, a branch establishment be- 
longing to the monks at Vourkamo. On this very site 
probably stood the temple where Aristomenes sacrificed 
his offering of thanksgiving for having slain an hundred 
foes to Zeus-Ithomates. There are a few fragments of 
marble in the walls. 

The view from this point is very wide and very grand. 
The hills of Arcadia lie, like the seats of a stadium, about 
the flat Messenian plains, and to the south-east are pro- 
longed in the great ridge of Taygetus stretching far into 
the sea. Near the top is a well of no great depth, in 
which is a spring of perennial water. This, and not the foun- 
tain of Mavrornati, I take to be the Klepsydra mentioned 
by Pausanias. In the Agora he says there is a fountain 
called Arsinoe, and water flows underground to it from 
the source called Klepsydra (iv. 31, 5). Then, in the 
beginning of the thirty-third chapter : ' As you come to 
the summit of Ithome, which is the Acropolis, there is a 
source called Klepsydra. Every day they carry water 
from that source to the temple of Zeus-Ithomates.' The 
word 7niyr}, here translated ' source/ is used by Pausanias 
in the sense of a natural spring, whether at the bottom 


of a well or appearing on the surface. The word ic\c\pvSoa, 
whose general signification was already so obsolete that in 
each case a local legend was invented to account for the 
name, is doubtless applied here, as at Athens and else- 
where, to denote a well of which the water sank at times 
below the usual level without any apparent outlet. A 
rainy or a drouthy season affords a natural explanation ; 
but the Greek fancy was particularly struck with the 
notion of subterraneous watercourses, and they firmly 
convinced themselves of such communication even when 
circumstances made it much more improbable than at 
Ithome. Kpy]ur] is always applied to an artificial foun- 
tain, whether the water has been brought from a distance 
in pipes or issues from the ground immediately behind 
the structure. Hence, in accordance wdth the words of 
Pausanias, I believe that the well near the summit was 
the Klepsydra, and the fountain of Mavromati was the 
fountain of the Agora, then masked by stone-work. The 
revolted Messenians, who held Ithome against the Lace- 
daemonians, must have been supplied from the upper well. 
They could not have had access to the fountain at Mavro- 
mati. The use of this particular water in sacred rites 
must have rested on an immemorial and uninterrupted 
custom. Besides, we find that an especial sanctity was 
always attached to springs on the tops of isolated heights, 
as in the Aero-Corinth and the Acropolis of Athens. Their 
preciousness and rarity made them seem the direct gift of 
gods. The Agora of the later city must have been near 
the site of the present village — the most convenient situa- 
tion for the country people, whether they came from the 
gate of Laconia or that of Megalopolis. 


The name Mavromati, /navpov o^ifxanov, black eye, is 
not an uncommon term for springs of water. The com- 
parison of a liquid pool fringed with lashes of fern, and 
overtopped by a brow of shrubs, making a break in the 
blank, bare hill-side to the human eye, is a touch of 
natural poetry for which the Greeks are indebted to an 
eastern source. The Turks also call springs ' eyes/ The 
author of the Song of Songs says, ' Her eyes are like the 
fishpools of Heshbon/ The epithet ' black/ so often 
applied to water, indicates its clearness. We find black 
water, fxk\av v<$a>p, constantly in Homer and the Greek 
poets. It is true we find bright water, ayXaou vSujp, also. 
The same water which in the light is most transparent is 
blackest in the shade, being naturally colourless and pure. 
I am told that the Irish peasants, whose language is so 
rich in implicit poetry, use c black water' in the same 
sense. Below the village are the remains of a theatre, 
and further on those of a stadium, constructed in the 
hollow made by the rivulet from Mavromati, which, as in 
so many other cases, has now resumed its natural course, 
and flows right through it. Tamen usque recurret. There 
were stone seats on either side of the stadium, somewhat 
more than half its length. We have observed the same 
thing at Nemea. Probably the upper part of the stadium 
was used also for wrestling and pugilistic contests, for 
witnessing which the whole length, 202 yards, could not 
be available. On either side and at the end was a colon- 
nade, which probably included the gymnasium also. In 
these columns the fluting is merely indicated, and left 
unfinished. At the further end are the ruins of a small 
Doric temple, like the colonnade, of white marble. Here 


the fluting is perfect. On the western side of the stadium 
are the foundations of another building in white marble, 
resting on the red schistous rock which comes to the 
surface in many places on the site of the lower city. 
Attached to the French map which we had with us was 
a plan of Messene, in which, among other inaccuracies, 
the stadium was drawn as if its length were 100 metres 
only, that is, half its real size. 

We were very much pestered with shepherds' dogs while 
examining these ruins, not for the first time. These animals 
have incurred the malediction of all travellers in the Morea, 
but I never heard an authentic instance of their biting any 
one. Nothing can be ' waur' in its way than their bark. 
Their owners are slow to call them off, for fear of con- 
fusing their ideas of duty. They resemble a cross between 
an English sheep-dog and a mastiff. We tried more than 
once the artifice of the wily Ulysses 1 — the simple ex- 
pedient of sitting down — in which case the creatures sat 
down also in a ring and howled at intervals. 

The western side of the old city is now thickly overgrown 
with wood. We passed a building apparently Roman on 
our way to the great gate, called by Pausanias the gate of 
Megalopolis. This much-famed gate is the most colossal 
and interesting relic of Hellenic antiquity in all the Morea. 
The street leading up to it from the inside is still paved 
with the old stones, marked longitudinally with cart-wheels, 

1 Homer, Odyss. xiv. 29, sqq. 

e^cnrivTjs 5' 'OBvcrrja i8ov Kvves vXaKopcopoi' 

ol fiev KeitkrjyovTes eweftpapov' avrap '08v(rcrevs 

e£(TO KepSoavvr], (jKrynrpov hk ol eWecre ^ftpdy. 


and still retaining the transverse cuts which afforded foot- 
ing for the horses up the steep hill. On the inner side are 
two gates, each eight feet five inches in width, separated 
by a wall four feet ten inches wide. Entering, you find 
yourself in a circular space, surrounded with walls of the 
most perfect masonry, large stones in regular courses ad- 
mirably fitted together, except where the roots of oaks 
and wild carob-trees have thrust them apart. We found 
a party of workmen clearing away the wood by order of 
the nomarch ; a good deed, for which he deserves the 
thanks of future travellers. The outer gate is single, 
sixteen feet ten inches across; exactly double the width 
of each of the inner gates. A stone, which has served for 
one of the architraves of the inner gates, we found by 
measurement to be fourteen feet three inches long, seven 
and a half feet high, and two and a half feet thick. The 
workmen of Epaminondas outdid the Cyclopeans. The 
wall is here more perfect than in any other part of the 
circuit. Built of white limestone, without a weather-stain 
or a lichen, it looked as fresh as if it were in process of 
building. It required an effort of the imagination to 
believe that it had been standing two thousand two hun- 
dred and twenty-five years. The thickness of the wall 
near the gate seems to have been partly left vacant for 
chambers, partly filled up with earth and the chips of 
stone left by the masons. The top is accessible from the 
inside by steps made at intervals. Not far off is a tower, 
measuring in the interior nineteen and a half by eighteen 
and a half feet. This tower, like that which I have men- 
tioned near the gate of Laconia, has had an upper story. 
About seven and a half feet above the floor are eight holes 


in the wall, intended for the beams which were to support 
a second floor. There are no signs of a staircase, so it 
must have been accessible by a ladder. This upper story 
was furnished with six windows, two on each side, except 
that towards the town, and four embrasures to shoot out 
of, narrowing towards the outside. Each window is still 
furnished with four holes for fastening the shutters. 3f . 
Rangabe, the accomplished Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
told me afterwards at Athens that he had discovered in 
the woods near this gate a Cyclopean tower, not belonging 
of course to these fortifications, and not mentioned by any 
writer. About half a mile beyond the gate there is a 
little rivulet bordered with plane-trees, which had been 
fixed upon in the morning as the place of rendezvous with 
the cook. Hither we went to lunch, and returned after- 
wards to the wonderful gate. The wall is prolonged east- 
ward up the side of Ithome, like the wall on the opposite 
side of the mountain, till it comes to the base of a per- 
pendicular rock. On this side the lower slopes of the 
hill are covered with oak woods, whose foliage contrasts 
well with the white crags above. The strata of the moun- 
tain, which on the east and south side are violently con- 
torted, appear on this — the west — side nearly vertical. 
"We left Messene about five, and reached the bridge of 
Mavrozoumeno in about an hour. On the way we met a 
group of peasant girls, who gave and returned the Easter 
salutation. At this season the ordinary greeting \aiipe, 
' hail/ is exchanged for Xpt^roc aviarij, ' Christ is risen/ 
and the reply aXrjOivojg avsarr), ' He is risen indeed.' The 
Russians, too, say ' Christos voscress' on the same occa- 
sion ; so that it seems to be an established custom in the 


Eastern Church, oue of the few which commend themselves 
to Western tastes and feelings as beautiful and edifying. 

' After one has descended thirty stades from the gate 
is the stream of the Balyra, and they say that the river 
got its name because Thamyris there threw away his lyre 
after he had been maimed (i.e. blinded by the Muses). 
And the Leucasia and Amphitos join their streams in 
one. And after crossing these there is the plain called 
Stenycleron/ 1 There is some difficulty in identifying the 
streams here mentioned. I am inclined to think that the 
Balyra is the stream which you cross about a quarter of a 
mile on this side the bridge. The geographer, or rather 
mythographer, as his practice is, devotes his space to it not 
in proportion to its size, but on account of the legend at- 
tached to it. There can be no doubt that the legend has 
taken its rise from the name, not the name from the 
legend. Else we should have to suppose that the Balyra 
flowed by Dorion, the scene which Homer assigns for the 
meeting of Thamyris with the envious Muses, who ' stopped 
his singing' by putting out his eyes. 2 Pausanias ration- 
alizes the legend by supposing that Thamyris was deprived 
of sight by natural disease, and yielded to despondency ; not 
like Homer himself, who bore up against it, and consoled 
himself with song. England can furnish another illustra- 
tion. One might even fancy that the gods blinded poets, 
not from envy, but as men blind singing birds, to make their 
notes sweeter. The ancient Dorion seems, in fact, to have 
been not far from the banks of the river now called 
Mavrozoumeno, and may perhaps be identified with some 

1 Pausanias iv. 33, 4. 2 Iliad, ii. $9$. 


scanty remains near the khan of Kokhla. But the little 
river I hold to be the Balyra is quite near enough the site of 
the Homeric legend to suggest an appendix to that legend by 
way of etymological explanation. The rivers Leucasia and 
Amphitos, in that case, -will be the two rivers now called 
Mavrozoumeno and Vivari, which join just below the 
bridge. This renowned bridge owes its celebrity, first, to 
its antiquity, and secondly, its singular plan. A horizontal 
section of it would resemble the cognizance of the Isle of 
Man, the three legs, more than anything else. The two 
rivers, as I have said, join, leaving an apex of low land, 
liable to be flooded, between them. A few yards above 
the apex is the bridge; of which the western leg spans the 
Mavrozoumeno, the eastern the Vivari, and the northern 
leg. stretches over the low ground between. 

The Dictionary of Geography 1 says : — ' The founda- 
tions of this bridge and the upper parts of tha piers are 
ancient; and from the resemblance of their masonry to 
that of the neighbouring Messene, they may be presumed 
to belong to the same period. The arches are entirely 
modern/ This last statement is not correct. In that 
over the Mavrozoumeno, or western stream, not merely the 
foundations, not merely the rectangular opening at the 
side, but also several courses of the arch itself, are Hellenic. 
We made a minute examination of this bridge, and have 
no doubt whatever that the ancient bridge had at least 
one arch constructed on the modern principle. The span 
of the arch is about seventeen feet, and its height from the 
Mater to the keystone, about thirteen feet, of which nine 

1 Art. Messenia, p. 342. 


feet six inches from the water consist of Hellenic work. 
That this is Hellenic work is certain; that it is coeval 
with the walls of Messene is very probable. If so, it 
proves that the old Greeks used their enormous architraves 
instead of arches, not because they were ignorant of the 
latter, but because the former style was to their eyes more 
grand and more suitable to the sanctity of a temple or the 
majesty of a city. We must remember that the remains 
of ancient Greek architecture still extant belong with 
scarcely an exception to great public works, where they 
aimed at splendour combined with strength, not conve- 
nience combined with cheapness. The abundance of stone, 
durable and free from flaws, was another reason why the 
Greeks did not feel the necessity of having recourse to 
makeshifts and expedients. In bridges, however, of any 
size — and such we are sure they had — the arch must have 
been employed to sustain the heavy traffic overhead. 
Close by the arch of which I have been speaking we have 
an example of what smaller bridges may have been. In 
this case it is a supplemental opening for the passage of the 
water, about seven feet high by four wide, like a rectan- 
gular door with a large single stone for architrave. 



A FEW hundred yards beyond the bridge is a lonely 
-^-*- house, the khan of Mavrozoumeno. There we 
stayed for the night. Next morning, returning to the 
bridge, we took the road to the north, across a grassy 
plain covered with asphodel — one of the commonest plants 
of the Greek flora, growing alike on the dry hills about 
Athens and the moist plains of Messenia. The soft- 
sonnding name, and its frequent mention among Greek 
poets, give one a vague notion that it must be a beautiful 
and fragrant flower. It is nothing of the kind, being a 
sort of daffodil, with long coarse leaves about the root, 
a thick stem, and colourless flowers at top. It is fami- 
liarly known to the chemist as ' squills/ It seems to 
have been an article of daily food to the rustics in Hesiod's 
time. 1 O dura ilia messorum ! The plain over which we 
are crossing was the plain of Stenyclerum, famous for 
many battles in the legendary history of Aristodemus and 
Aristomenes. Somewhere on our right was Andania, the 
ancient capital of Messenia, before its subjugation by the 
Spartans. In the Middle Ages this plain had the name 
of Lakkos. Here, in 1 205, was fought the single decisive 

1 Hes. Epy. icai Hfx. 41. 
R 2 


battle which, like the battle of Hastings, delivered the 
whole country into the hands of Prankish conquerors under 
another William, Guillaume de Champlitte. I cannot 
find in my map the particular spot — Koundoura — where it 
was said to have taken place. 1 The denies in the eastward 
range of hills, known as Makraplai, were the scene of 
another victory, gained by Guillaume de Yillehardouin and 
his Turkish auxiliaries over the Greeks, under the Grand 
Domestic, in 1267. On the summit of an eminence, a 
few miles to the westward, is a noble medieval castle with 
lofty towers, which a peasant tells me is called Vasiliko. 
From its position it seems to have been intended to protect 
the upper part of the Messenian plain from an attack on 
the side of Arcadia, the town on the western coast. The 
name Vasiliko implies that it was an imperial castle. It 
may, therefore, have been erected by one of the despots 
who governed in the emperor's name at the beginning of 
the fifteenth century, when the Franks still retained Elis 
and a strip of .territory along the shore. In about an 
hour and a quarter we come to the base of the hills. 
After a short ascent is the village of Constantinous, and, 
by-and-bye, another steeper ascent, followed by some 
rough riding among ravines and ragged wood. After 
reaching the top of a kind of pass in the hills, we wait 
for our belated baggage. Turning to the south, we look 
over successive ranges to Ithome, with steep sides and 
truncated summit dominant in the centre of the picture. 
Below Ithome, to the left, is the great Messenian plain, 
shining with overflowing water, and then the sea in the 

1 Finlay's Medieval Greece, p. 207. 


far distance. Turning to the west, we look over the plain 
of Cyparissa, rich in olive grounds and corn-fields, bounded 
on either side by hills dotted with black pines. The rocks 
about us are of a reddish schist, escaped, apparently, from 
under the limestone which we see on the higher hills, lying 
in level strata, peering here and there among the brush- 
wood. \Ye halted for a couple of hours near Dimandra, 
and breakfasted in a ruined church beside a fountain 
overhung by a plane-tree. The provident Constantine 
had bought a turkey at the last village. He wrung its 
neck, and pulled its feathers as he rode. Espying a shep- 
herd not far off, he had also furnished a bottle of sheep's 
milk, which Alcibiades churned into butter on the way. I 
record these particulars with an Homeric precision and a 
frequency which may seem unnecessary to readers at home. 
In the ordinary routine of civilized life people do not 
know what hunger is, nor feel the importance of a meal 
at meal-times. My object is to give as true a picture as 
I can of our travels, and if I were to pass over the com- 
missariat as a matter of little moment, I should be both 
hypocritical and ungrateful. It is only the heroes of 
medieval chivalry l who can dispense with such appliances ; 
modern travellers share the infirmities of Achilles and 

avrap eVet 7rocrioj kcu edrjrvos f£ epov evro 

they resumed their journey. 

Before we left Athens we had been counselled not by 
any means to neglect seeing the cave of the Black Demeter, 

1 Hago te saber, Sancbo, que es honra de los caballeros andantes 
no comer, &c. — Don Quixote, bk. i. cb. 10, p. 72. 

246 notes or study and travel. 

which, we were told, had been discovered by a recent French 
traveller ; and we were furnished with a precise description 
of its position, and a rough plan of the neighbouring 
country. Sending our baggage forward by the direct road 
to Paulitza, we diverged to the right, having procured from 
the neighbouring village an old man to act as guide. I 
have often wondered at the longevity of the ancient Greeks, 
and the intellectual vigour which they maintained to ex- 
treme old age j 1 the physical vigour of Barba Jan — such 
was the name of our guide — compared with his time of 
life, was more wonderful still. He asserted, and his 
appearance confirmed the story, that he was ninety-two 
years old ; and yet he walked that day eight hours con- 
tinuously over very rough road, refusing the horse which 
was offered him from time to time. He led us along a 
rocky path which wound round the base of Mount Tetrazi, 
through thick ilex woods, for two hours, catching glimpses 
now and then of a cliff before us, and a hole in the face 
of it. Leaving our horses, we scrambled along a steep 
wooded bank below the rock, and at last came to the 
object of our search. Instead of the vast cavern we had 
anticipated, we found a mere fissure in the rock, widened 
in quite recent days by shepherds, of whose pickaxes the 
marks are still apparent. It is about five feet wide, and 

1 iEschylus produced the Agamemnon, Choephorce, and Eumenides 
at 66 years of age ; Sophocles was nearly 90 when he wrote the 
(EJ.qnis Coloneus; Euripides was the favourite of young Athens 
when, as the story goes, he came to a violent and premature end at 
the age of 75 ; Aristophanes continued to be funny at the great 
annual festivals for 40 years ; Pindar lived to he 80 years old ; Plato 
to 84 ; and because Aristotle died at the grand climacteric, 63, it 
was supposed that he must have committed suicide. 


from six to iriiie feet high. The cave in no respect corre- 
sponds with that of the Black Demeter described by 
Pausanias ; and if we had read that author more carefully, 
we might have saved ourselves the trouble of verifying the 
pretended discovery. ' Phigalea/ he says, ' is surrounded 
by mountains — on the left by that called Kotylion, and 
on the right another mountain stands before it, Elaion by 
name. Kotylion is distant about forty stadia from the 
city, and in it is a place called Bassse, and the temple of 

Apollo the Helper The other mountain, Elaion, is 

about thirty stadia away from Phigalea, and there is a 
cavern sacred to Demeter, surnamed Black/ 1 The ambi- 
guity which arises from the employment of the terms, left 
hand and right, instead of the points of the compass, is 
removed by the mention of the temple of Bassse, which is 
still extant, to show which was Kotylion, viz., the range 
of hills on the eastern side of the city. The other hill, 
in which was the sacred cave, was that on the western 
side ; and the cave itself, instead of being twelve miles to 
the east of Phigalea — where we had been sent to look for 
it — was probably not four miles to the west. The distance 
from the city to the mountain, in either case, is probably 
reckoned to the commencement of the unenclosed land. 
Pausanias himself was as much disappointed in his visit 
to the true cave as we in our visit to the false. He had 
read about it in some book or other, and about a statue, 
the work of Onatas, an yEginetan sculptor of the fifth 
century b.c, a particular favourite of his; and to see this 
was his principal object in visiting Phigalea : but when he 

1 Pausanias, viii. 41, 5, and 42, 1. 


came there, lo! the statue had disappeared, and no one 
knew that such a thing had ever existed, except one old 
man, who said that in his grandfather's time some rocks 
had fallen from the roof and crushed it. There was, how- 
ever, an altar in front of the cave, on which, according to 
the custom of the place, he made an offering of grapes and 
other fruits, honey in the comb, and wool uncleansed from 
the natural grease, and poured oil over the heap — or 
rather the priestess, assisted by a young acolyte, per- 
formed the ceremony in his name. 

We might have employed our time better by climbing 
an isolated peak which lies between the cavern and the 
village of Kakaletri, sloping steeply down on all sides with 
a considerable space of available ground on the top. There 
is a tower and oblong walled space upon this hill, appa- 
rently of medieval workmanship. The defensible position 
of this hill makes it quite certain that one of the countless 
strongholds of ancient Greece must have been built there. 
What it was called must remain for ever undetermined. 
The city of Eira, into which Aristomenes collected the 
remnants of the Messenian people, was on the Neda, and 
there is no position on that river, so far as I know, which 
has stronger claims than this. Pausanias here affords us 
no help. Though we learn from him alone the story, I 
do not say history, of the second Messenian war, of which 
Eira was the chief theatre, he nowhere hints that he had 
visited, or even heard of its remains. Had he been told 
that they were near Phigalea, he would, we may be sure, 
have visited them; we may infer, therefore, that in his 
time all tradition of the whereabouts of Eira was lost. 
Going further back, we find that it was a matter of dispute 


iu the time of Strabo (b. viii. p. 360). Some affirmed that 
it was identical with the (Echalia of Homer, and was 
situated on the road between Megalopolis and Andania, to 
the eastward, that is, of the Stenycleric plain ; others held 
that it was the ancient name of Messola, on the seaside, 
at the foot of Taygetus. 

From these statements it is clear that Strabo had taken 
no account of the poem of Rhianus, from which he would 
have learned that Eira was near the Neda, as certainly as 
Troy near Simois and Scamander. He was ignorant also 
that the Eira of the Messeniaka was distinct from the 
Eira of the Iliad. It is of course hopeless to attempt to 
decide now what was a moot point in the reign of 
Augustus. On the western side of this hill is the village 
of Kakaletri, and about half a mile beyond it, on a lower 
eminence, the ruins of an ancient city, which we stayed 
to examine. 

I transcribe here the rough notes made on the spot : — 
\ The masonry very good, like that of Messene ; the 
stones are of various size, but all rectangular in regular 
courses. The shape of the walls is that of a lozenge nearly, 
with a tower at each corner; the largest tower is at the 
south-east angle, the corresponding one at the north-west 
is fallen to ruin. The length may be 300 yards and the 
breadth 150. Inside the walls, but not parallel to any, 
is a strong basement with buttresses like those under the 
Olympieum at Athens, and outside on the slopes below 
are many remains of ancient terraces. Can this be Eira ? 
The walls are much later than Aristomenes's time/ 

If the Messenians on their return had, in tenderness to 
the memory of the former city, built another Eira near 


the old site, but in a lower and more convenient place — 
which is a natural conjecture — surely some record, some 
memory of the fact would have survived down to the time 
of Augustus. Possibly it was a frontier town built by 
the Spartans during their occupation of Messenia; at all 
events it was not the ancient Eira. It is too small in 
extent, not strong enough in position, and is obviously of 
later construction. The French surveyors have settled 
the question in their usual trenchant way. They place 
this ruined city on the top of the high hill before men- 
tioned, and call it Eira, and in the position of these ruins 
write the words ' Temple antique/ The Dictionary of 
Geography 1 says f Near Kakaletri are the remains of an 
ancient fortress, which was in all probability Eira; and 
the lofty mountain above, now called Tetrazi, was pro- 
bably the highest summit of Mount Eira.' Now, as 
I have shown, the fortress of which these are remains 
could not have been Eira, the hill where it may have been 
has no ancient remains on it, and from both positions the 
mountain Tetrazi is quite detached, and owing to its 
height, 4580 feet, and wide extent, quite unsuitable to the 
historical mythus of which it is assumed to be the scene. 

It was past five when we left these ruins. We followed for 
some miles a very rough path, if path it could be called, on 
the left bank of the Neda, looking with Barba Jan's eyes for 
a convenient place to pass the river. At last we managed 
to cross, and plodded on some miles more. It was now 
growing dark. Barba Jan had forgotten or never known 
the road. Luckily we met another peasant, Anastas he 

1 Art. Ira. 


called himself. Him we engaged as guide; but as it grew 
pitch dark he lost his way too. We all floundered along, 
over hedges and ditches, or what seemed to be such. At 
last we came to the edge of a ravine, a stream roaring, 
as streams do roar at night, far below. Somehow we 
scrambled down through the wood, plashed through the 
water, scrambled up through another wood, and so on 
till about ten o'clock we arrived at Paulitza. The village 
had been for hours asleep, excepting the household with 
whom we had to pass the night. Our men had made a 
fire outside, and were sitting round it, wondering with 
pleasurable anxiety whether we had been murdered by 
brigands or had only broken our necks. After all, the 
only article broken was an umbrella. 

The house where we lodged consisted of a single room. 
At one end, round the fire, sat the whole family, old and 
young, enjoying an Easter feast, probably on the strength 
of what they were to receive for our night's lodging. As 
soon as the lamb was roasted, the goodman of the house 
tore it to pieces and put them into a dish, from which, 
after it had been sent to us to taste, they all helped them- 
selves. After which they disposed themselves to sleep round 
the dying embers on the hearthstone. At the other end of 
the room our beds were laid among a mass of household 
stuff. Our hosts, like most of the people in this part of 
the country, were Albanians, knowing only a few words 
of Romaic. There are about 200,000 of this people 
among the inhabitants of the Greek kingdom, that is to 
say, nearly a fifth of the whole population. They first 
came into the Morea in the fourteenth century ; some as 
mercenary soldiers, who received grants of land after 


being disbanded j others as invited or unopposed settlers 
on waste ground. 

In the year 141 5, the Emperor Manuel II., in a funeral 
oration which he delivered at Mistra in honour of his 
brother Theodore, who had governed the Morea as despot 
or viceroy, made especial mention of the pains which he 
had taken to introduce Albanian colonists. These colo- 
nists were for the most part shepherds and herdsmen, and 
occupied the pastures on the high ground on condition of 
paying a rent to the government and to the Sclavo- Greek 
proprietors in the towns and valleys. Even to this day 
the Albanian language is spoken almost universally in all 
the mountainous districts of the Morea, with the excep- 
tion of the three southern peninsulas. In order to get 
rid of the obligation of paying rent, they took an oppor- 
tunity in 1452, when the empire of Constantinople was 
struggling in the agonies of dissolution, to rebel in order 
to become lords, not tenants, of the soil ; but the attempt 
was quelled by the interference of the Turks. They have 
received frequent accessions from the same causes in more 
recent times ; but as there is a constant tendency in the 
less civilized races to be absorbed in and assimilated with 
their neighbours, so, doubtless, there are many people of 
Albanian blood who now rank with the Greeks, because 
they speak their language and have adopted their habits. 
They are, I was told, offended at being called Albanians 
or Skipetar, as they used to call themselves, and desire to 
be termed Hellenes. This desire on their part, and the 
systematic education which is now introduced in modern 
Greece, will in a very short time obliterate all the dis- 
tinctions between them. Generally speaking, the Alba- 


nians are lighter in hair and complexion and more athletic 
in form than the Greeks or Sclavonians about them, but 
there are striking individual exceptions to the rule ; as I 
have said, they used to call themselves Skipetar, the learned 
call them Albanians, their rural neighbours call them 
Vlachi — a misnomer, but a natural one, since before the 
Albanians were known in Greece the Wallachians had 
occupied a great part of the country north of the Corin- 
thian gulf. In the same way the Welsh give the name 
of Sassenach to the Flemings settled about Tenby and 
Milford Haven. The mistake is perpetuated in the 
names of some villages inhabited by Albanians, as, for 
example, in Vlakho-Raphti in Arcadia, Vlakho-Khori in 
Laconia, &c. 



1 ~T)HIGALEA is situated upon high ground, precipitous 
J- for the most part, and they have also walls built 
above the cliffs, and, when you get to the top, you find the 
hill smooth and level/ 1 Such is Pausanias's description of 
the city. The walls are of rude masonry, of an order inter- 
mediate between the polygonal and the Hellenic, and may 
perhaps date from the seventh century b.c The struc- 
ture, however, is not uniform, and its archaic character 
may perhaps be due rather to rustic unskilfulness than 
to remote antiquity. There are all sorts of salient and 
retreating angles, to be attributed more to the nature of 
the ground than to a plan of fortification. There are also 
towers at intervals, some square, some round. In parts I 
counted nine courses of masonry. The inside of the wall 
has been filled up with loose stones and rubble. There is 
a postern four feet wide with successively projecting stones, 
and an architrave at the top. There has been, I think, 
a larger gate close by it, for the ground is artificially flat- 
tened both within and without. On the summit of the 

1 viii. 39, 4. — Keirai Se f] $iyakia eVi fierewpov na\ dnoropov ra 
ivKiova Kai vnep ra>v Kprjpvav <OKo8opr]pfpa eort rei^rj acpurtv k. t. A. The 
ordinary reading anoroyiov, irKeova 8e \mb to>v Kprjfivcov makes nonsense. 


hill, -which, though comparatively level, is not horizontal, 
is a kind of fort, built of rough stones just as they were 
picked up (XoyaSriv), with the exception of a tower at 
the west end, where tools have been used. The fort is 
oval, and the entrance is through a kind of passage 
formed by an overlapping wall, as in the so-called 
pyramid near Argos, and other places I have mentioned. 
About a mile outside the walls, on the way to Tragoge, on 
the top of a ridge, are the traces of some ancient building, 
hewn-stones and the base of a column. The report of 
our arrival must have spread to Tragoge before us, for as 
we approached the village we were met by all its house- 
wives offering for sale some home-made woollen-cloths 
with gay embroidery in divers colours. Beyond the vil- 
lage, on the slope of the hill called by Pausanias Kotylion, 
are the remains of terraced walls, apparently ancient — ■ 
traces of old cultivation which the ebb-tide of prosperity 
has left high and dry. "We ascend by a glen, and in 
forty minutes come suddenly in sight of the temple. Of 
the many hundred temples which the ancient Peloponnese 
contained, this is the only one remaining of which the 
plan and dimensions can still be estimated. Indeed, with 
the exception of the seven at Corinth, there is not another 
column standing in the whole peninsula. The columns 
at Corinth are seen in contrast with the mean and 
ephemeral houses of the modern town ; the columns at 
Bassse stand in a desert among rough rocks of kindred 
limestone, and surrounded by a scattered forest of oaks. 
We can only guess, and probably guess wrong, at the 
dimensions and destination of the Corinthian ruin; the 
successive generations of men dwelling at its base have 


preserved no tradition j of this temple in the -wilderness 
we know the whole history, thanks to Pausanias. It 
was dedicated to Apollo the Helper, and built by Ictinus, 
the architect of the Parthenon. The inference drawn by 
our author that it was a thank-offering for their deliverance 
from the great plague of 1430-29 b.c, is almost beyond 
question. Although the work of the same architect, the 
proportions of the shafts and the angles of the capitals 
are very different — a fact which should teach one caution 
in drawing any conclusion as to the date of a building 
from architectural measurements alone. The frieze which 
adorned the inner walls of the cella was found almost 
entire among the ruins, and is now in the British Museum. 
The workmanship of this frieze is exceedingly rude, and 
would never have been guessed to belong to the same period 
and the same school as the Elgin marbles. It may be that 
it was the work of Phigalean artists, after drawings sent 
from Athens. The subjects are the battles of the Centaurs 
and Lapithse, and those of the Athenians and Amazons, 
having no conceivable connexion with the object and oc- 
casion of the building. The same lack of purpose, the 
same absence of all reference, seems to have obtained in 
the minor ornaments of other ancient works. In the 
throne at Amyclae, for instance, the ingenuity of the con- 
noisseur seems to have been sorely taxed to find a reason 
for this or that representation. The fancy of the architect 
and sculptor appears to have been allowed full liberty ; if 
they hit upon a theme specially appropriate, well and 
good j if not, it was no matter ; the taste of the age was 
satisfied with beauty. So in the Gothic churches the 
workman indulged his caprice in decorating pillar, gur- 


goyle and finial, with calm winged angels or grinning 
contorted demons, without reference to the saint under 
whose invocation the sacred pile might be consecrated. 

The symbolism of a later age — an age which has ceased 
to be creative and become critical — forces upon the heed- 
less simplicity of ancient works a subtle interpretation of 
which their authors never dreamed. I cannot but think 
that the odes of Pindar and the choruses of iEschylus 
have been sometimes subjected to similar misconstruction. 

M. Bory de St. Vincent, in his narrative of the scien- 
tific expedition sent by the French into the Morea, speak- 
ing of this temple at Bassae (p. 261), says that when Mr. 
Dodwell visited it, c II n'y manquait que la statue du 
dieu qu'avaient encense les antiques Phigaliens ; en peu 
d'instans les magnifiques frizes et tout ce qui faisait Porne- 
ment disparut spolie par une troupe de speculateurs qui 
en ont enrichi Londres.' Then he quotes from the travels 
of a German savant, one C. Miller, who says, f The Ionic 
columns of the temple supported that celebrated frieze 
which Vandalism tore from them. What even the Turks 
had refrained from doing, what no nation would dare to 
do, that the English did/ This is a monstrous falsehood, as 
M. Bory might have ascertained if he had taken the slightest 
pains to find out the truth. The temple when it was first 
discovered was in ruins, as it is now ; and the frieze, which 
only became 'celebrated' after it was dug out, was buried 
among the fragments which encumbered the ground. 
* What no nation would dare to do V How did France 
stock the Louvre in the reign of Napoleon ? How did she 
acquire the Venus of Melos ? How came the xEginetan 
marbles into the sculpture gallery at Munich? How 



comes it that the walls of the museum at Berlin are 
covered with fragments cut out of the tombs of Egypt? 
I say confidently that no nation has been more scrupulous 
in its acquisitions than England. At all events it ill 
becomes a Frenchman or a German to throw a stone at 
us. How is it that the lions of the Piraeus stand on guard 
over the arsenal at Venice ? The very commission of which 
M. Bory was president, found among the ruins of the 
temple at Olympia some precious fragments of Phidian 
sculpture, which they took away with them and deposited 
in the Louvre. No English traveller has as yet been 
found so foolish as to believe that they destroyed the 
temple, or so malignant as to affect to believe it. Never 
were treasures acquired more legitimately than the Phi- 
galean marbles. M. Bory's tirade, coloured as it is by 
frantic national jealousy, would have been in bad taste, 
considering the pretensions of his work to a scientific cha- 
racter, even if it had been based upon acknowledged fact ; 
being, as it is, based upon what he might have easily dis- 
covered to be a groundless fiction, it is worthy only — if 
I may be excused for using such strong language — of aT. 
Michelet. 1 

1 A certain French author, M. F. Wey, who visited London in an 
excursion train from Paris, has embodied the results of his fortnight's 
observations in a volume entitled Les Anglais chez eux. He is 
brimfull of national prejudice, but possesses that happy knack of 
counterfeit naivete common to most of his countrymen, but wanting 
in M. Bory de St. Vincent, which makes one excuse ignorance and 
forgive insult. In a sudden access of candour, which in a French 
author reads like a trait of genius, M. "Wey says, speaking of the 
abuse lavished on Lord Elgin and the English, apropos of the marbles : 
1 Laissons crier et, pour etre de bonne foi, convenons que, si quelque 


Pausanias admired the exquisite material of the temple. 
A close-grained limestone, weather-stained but not weather- 
worn, blending its pale blue with the red-purple of a 
minute lichen, — nothing can surpass the rich effect thus 
produced. Many of my readers will remember Edward 
Lear's picture of the scene, which was in the Royal 
Academy exhibition some years ago — broad-leaved oaks in 
the foreground, and far in the distance the blue sea and 
the snow-capped hills. We, too, remembered the beauty of 
the picture, and were anxious to confirm its fidelity — but 
the Fates forbade. Though it was the 3rd of May, the 
oaks, which in this high ground follow the old style, were 
only budding, and a wet driving mist, worthier of Scotland 
than of Arcadia, blotted all the landscape out. 

The mist turned to drenching rain as we rode along 
slippery earth banks and under dripping woods to An- 
dritzena, a distance of about eight miles. 

Andritzena is a large flourishing village with a street 
of shops called a ' bazaar. ' This term, with other Turkish 
words, is still used in the rural districts of Greece. For 
instance, here at Andritzena, the women who offered coins 
for sale addressed us as 'effendi/ and the children asked 
for ' bachsheesh/ At Athens and the larger towns the 
language has already divested itself of the orientalisms con- 
tracted during servitude, and is adopting Gallicisms in- 
stead; thus passing through a phase similar to its state 
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, during the 

ambassadeur Francais eut fait enlever au profit du Louvre les chefs- 
d'oeuvre de Phidias, loin de le charger d'anathemes, nous eussions 
applaudi a son patriotisme, et joyeusement accueilli les tresors de 

s 2 


French occupation of Athens and the Morea. A notable 
specimen of the language (I mean of course the language 
of Greece, not Constantinople) at this epoch is preserved 
to us in a metrical Chronicle of the French Conquest, 
written/ as internal evidence proves, between the years 
1326 and 1386 a.d. There is, however, this difference 
between the two cases — then the borrowed Gallicisms were 
words chiefly, now they are constructions. In former 
days French influence supplanted the vocabulary, now it 
corrupts the grammar. The French are the interpreters 
between the north and the south, between the east and the 
west of Europe. The thoughts of England and Germany 
are conveyed to the Russian, Spaniard, Italian, and Greek 
in a French mould; and thus the aggregate influence of 
the three nations seems at first sight to belong to France 
alone. It must indeed be admitted that this universality 
of the French language is a mighty engine of moral 
power, and secures to France a preponderance greater 
than is her due on the score of material or intellectual 
superiority. The dialect of the rayahs in Asia Minor and 
the Turkish provinces generally is mixed with Turkish, 
and in a less degree with Italian words, and will remain 
as it is till the next change of masters. The Greek 
spoken in the Ionian islands was, a few years ago, so over- 
laid with Italian words and phrases, that of the original 
stock scarcely anything but the particles remained. Greek 
sympathies, French literature, and English society are 

1 The author mentions the Catalan conquest of Athens, which took 
place in 1326, and states that they occupied it at the time he 
wrote. In 1386 the House of Aragon was succeeded by that of 


•working a rapid change. Owing to the commerce and 
conquests of Venice and Genoa, Italian had extended 
itself not merely in the islands and coasts nearest to home, 
but had become the common language of interpretation 
all over the Levant. Now French, and to a smaller extent 
English also, is taking its place. 

This digression may be pardoned, if anywhere, at An- 
dritzena, at which there is nothing to be seen, and of which 
there is nothing to be said, except that it offers a night's 
lodging unusually commodious, and commands a wide 
prospect towards the north, where mountain ridges, the 
ordinary components of Greek scenery, are grouped in pecu- 
liar beauty, rank after rank, to the chain of Erymanthus; 
and behind that, two snowy peaks, which on the autho- 
rity of a villager I set down to be the summits of 



THE weather was again fine when we left Audritzena 
at eight o'clock a.m., on the 4th of May. The 
scene is not remarkable as far as Phanari, a village lying 
below the fine bold peak called in the French map 
Mount Paleokastro, anciently Kotylion. Both these names 
are, I believe, wrong. There is an old fort at Paleo- 
kastro, on the summit, but we could not learn that the 
mountain was named from it ; and the ancient name Koty- 
lion is applied by Pausanias to the hills near Phigalea, 
on which the temple of Apollo stands. Colonel Leake 
says the mountain is called Fanaritiko or Zakkuka, the 
latter being the special name of the ruin ; we were told 
that it was called Oreas. Here begins a deep glen down 
which the river Phanari runs northward to join the 
Alpheus. Its steep sides are composed of grey limestone 
above, and red schistous earth below, and are covered with 
trees, oak, maple, and dark pine. As we ride along the 
high ground on the left bank the scenery becomes like a vast 
shrubbery, plots of maple, holly-leaved ilex, and arbutus 
hung with clematis and the creeping smilax, with smooth 
lawns and winding paths between. On a level spot across 
the glen we saw a group of peasants all in white, dancing 
the Romaika. We wanted only the pipe of Strephon or 


Corydon to make us feel that we were indeed in Arcadia. 
From the distance at which the dancers were our imagi- 
nation had full play, and might picture the shepherds and 
shepherdesses as worthy personally, no less than locally, of 
the poet's praise : — 

Stay, gentle swains ; for though in this disguise 

I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes, 

Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung 

Of that renowned flood so often sung, 

Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluice 

Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse ; 

And ye, the breathing roses of the wood, 

Fair silver-buskin'd nymphs as great and good, 1 &c. 

This dance has been supposed to be traditionally derived 
from the Cyclic dance of the ancients ; but of course this 
cannot be proved. The figure is such as would suggest 
itself without the teaching of tradition; I have seen chil- 
dren in England dancing the Romaika many a time. An 
indefinite number of men and women of all ages take 
hold of hands and go round and round, with a hop and 
a slide, to a low monotonous chant, which keeps time, but 
cannot be said to have any tune. 

At noon we reached the little hamlet of Bartzi, on the 
top of a hill looking over the Alpheus, which, issuing 
from a narrow pass to our right, spreads out over a wide 
bed of sand and gravel. Beyond it are swelling downs, 
high table-lands of pasturage, dotted with green trees and 
olive-brown shrubs ; the lower ground and sheltered hol- 
lows arable; chequered squares of corn and fallow, with 
a village here and there, scattered about the slope. The 

Milton's Arcades. 


houses at Bartzi are roughly built of limestone with 
alternate layers of clay, roofed with yellow tiles. After 
two hours' rest we crossed the river — here a wide and shal- 
low stream — by the ford called ' of Bartzi •' and following 
the right bank, across meadows of asphodel, we met whole 
families of Vlachi, that is to say, Albanian shepherds, mi- 
grating to the summer pasture-grounds high up in the hills, 
with all their flocks, and a few horses and donkeys carrying 
their household stuff, beds, chicken-coops, and children. 
The women wore a kind of black coat without sleeves. 
By-and-bye we came to the Ladon, the stream of which 
was much deeper and stronger than that of the Alpheus. 
Hence the modern name, ' Bouphia/ which is unques- 
tionably derived from ' Alpheus' and below the point of 
junction applied to the united stream, is above this point 
given, not to the stream which in ancient times was the 
upper Alpheus, but to the Ladon, as contributing the 
larger body of water ; though when the direction of the 
course is taken into account, the other has a right to be 
considered the principal river. The precise description of 
Pausanias (v. 7, 1) enables us to identify the ancient 
Alpheus and its confluents. If the asphodel be allowed to 
pass muster as a lily, the poet again speaks no more than 
the literal truth of ' sandy Ladon's lilied banks.' An 
hour more brought us to the Erymanthus, a narrow stream 
flowing over gravel between abrupt cliffs of pudding-stone. 
Climbing up the further bank, we crossed first open pas- 
tures, and then a forest of fine trees, pine and oak, now 
scattered now clustered, in that wild variety which is so 
pleasing to our national taste. By-and-bye we descended, 
and came again to the banks of the Alpheus. On the 


other side are a succession of sandy hills, thick with pines, 
and narrow well-watered valleys between. Somewhere 
among those recesses was Skillos, where Xenophon passed 
the quiet years of his life, writing, farming, hunting, 
offering sacrifice to Artemis and all the other gods, and 
training his boys to be virtuous, brave, and pious like 
himself. The want of power and profundity which critics 
complain of in his works is compensated by that easy 
grace and serenity of style which make you feel that the 
author was a happy man. When I read him I think of 
Addison. It is the fashion now to sneer at his history for 
want of patriotism, and at his Cyropcedia because it is not 
practical ; at the Memorabilia because it is not like the 
Phado ; and at the minor works because few people ever 
read them. Whatever be the justice of such criticism, 
we must remember that his sons, trained by his system, 
and on his principles, grew up to be models of manly 
beauty and prowess, mighty hunters and great soldiers; 
that one died for Athens on the field of battle, and that 
both were honoured with statues plain for all folk to see 
before the propylea of the Acropolis. 

We had been promised a superb night's lodging in a 
new khan, so new that there had not been time for it to 
get dirty, much less dilapidated ; but oh ! ' the fallacies of 
hope/ if I may use the phrase after J. M. W. Turner. 
The landlord was gone to a wedding, and had taken the 
key in his pocket. In this perplexity, after a vain effort 
to break open the door, we betook ourselves to a cluster 
of shepherds 5 summer huts, the kalyvia of Miria by name, 
and induced a family to vacate one of them and make it 
over to us for the night. It was of an oval shape, made 


of a rude wicker-work, with a steep roof supported on two 
poles, and entered by a door about four feet high. It was 
of course not proof against any weather. Fortunately the 
night, which had threatened storm, was windy, but not wet ; 
and under the shelter, such as it was, of the kalyvion, we 
enjoyed as sound sleep as any of the shepherds or their 

We left our kalyvion at half-past seven on a fresh, sunny 
morning. Scarcely two miles off we passed a prosperous- 
looking village among vineyards on the hill-side. If we 
had known of its proximity the night before, we might 
have slept under more effectual shelter. In less than two 
hours we arrived at a place where the hills receding leave 
a level plain between them and the river — the plain of 
Olympia. Its length is near three miles ; its breadth very 
various, between the folds of the hills and the windings of 
the stream. It is now called Andilalo, after a hamlet 
which once stood on the bank of the stream which bounds 
it to the westward ; and the hamlet was so called because 
at this point travellers turned up to the left along a valley 
leading to Lala, a town which had grown into importance 
during the latter years of Turkish rule. Of all the monu- 
ments with which this famous spot was once crowded — so 
numerous that Pausanias devotes about one-eighth of his 
whole work to their enumeration — not a trace remains, 
with the single exception of the ruins of the temple of 
Zeus. But for them it might have been doubted whether 
this were Olympia or not. Several causes may be assigned 
for this more than ordinary devastation. The statues of 
course would share the fate of all statues — the bronze 
melted down, the marble burnt into lime. The buildings 


have been all pulled down for the sake of their materials. 
In the Middle Ages there were several important towns 
and strong castles on the plain of Elis — Andravida, Cla- 
rentza, Chlomoutzi, Vlisiri, &c. There were no quarries 
at hand on the plain, and here, at the gates of the hills, 
they found stone ready hewn. In later days, too, the 
Aga of Lala, as Colonel Leake says, found here the most 
commodious quarry. The nature of the ground, also, has 
contributed to conceal whatever the rapacity of man has 
failed to carry away. The soil of the plain is alluvial, 
and liable to periodical inundations from torrents and from 
the Alpheus ; the hills around are of loose sand, and their 
conformation is altered by every wind that blows. The 
places of the stadium and the theatre are probably hidden 
deep in the hill-side, beneath the roots of many genera- 
tions of pines. Not many years ago the ruins of the 
temple must have been hidden in the accumulated earth. 
They were discovered and dug out by the Turks. Happily, 
before they had quite carried off all, their sway came to an 
end; and the more recent excavations by Mr. Stanhope 
and others were undertaken with a nobler purpose. The 
size of the fragments had convinced Colonel Leake that 
these ruins could belong only to the temple of Zeus ; and 
the subsequent discoveries tallying with the description of 
Pausanias, made the fact quite certain. I have already 
mentioned the minuteness with which he catalogued all 
the wonders of Olympia. He seems to have considered it 
a religious duty. The Eleusinian rites and the Olympic 
games had, he says, above all things in Greece, an especial 
share of divine favour ; and the same piety which required 
him to keep silence about the one, prompted him to ex- 


patiate on the other. The temple of Zeus was hexastyle, 
of the Dorian order, with a continuous peristyle. The 
material was freestone found in the neighbourhood (e7ti- 
■ywpioQ irojpog), except the roof, which was of Pentelic 
marble, cut in the shape of tiles. The pediments were 
filled with statues, representing, at the eastern face, Pelops 
and (Enomaus prepared for their chariot race, with Zeus in 
the middle, and Cladeus and Alpheus reclining on their 
urns at either end ; at the western face, the battle of the 
Centaurs and Lapithse. AYhen we call to mind the signi- 
fication of ' Hippodamia' and the connexion of the temple 
with the race-course, it seems a coincidence more than 
accidental that both pediments related to a heroine of this 
name — the wooing of Hippodamia daughter of CEnomaus, 
and the marriage- feast of Hippodamia daughter of Atrax. 
As the statue of the god inside was inspired in the mind 
of Phidias by the lines of Homer, 1 so I think it probable 
that the subject of the sculptures in the eastern pediment 
was suggested by a passage of Pindar, 2 where he calls upon 
his Muse to take for her theme f Zeus wielder of red light- 
ning and the revered headland of Elis, which of yore Pelops 
the Lydian hero won, a noble dower of Hippodamia/ It 
would be appropriate, too, that outside the god should be 
represented with the attributes of his power, armed with 
his thunderbolt, seeing that inside he was to be shown in 
peaceful majesty, sternly resolute and omnipotent by the 
effort of his will : l Kronion spake and bowed assent with 
his dark brows, and the ambrosial locks waved on the 
king's immortal head, and he shook great Olympus/ There 

1 II. i. 528, sqq. ' 01. ix. 6. 


were also compositions in statuary above the doors at 
either end, representing the labours of Hercules. Front- 
ing the eastern door was seated this famous statue, the 
master-work of Phidias, and the perfection of ancient art. 
The flesh was represented in ivory, the dress overlaid with 
gold, like the Athene of the Parthenon. In his right 
hand the god held a crowned Victory of similar materials, 
and in his left hand a sceptre adorned with all the metals, 
and an eagle perched upon it. The throne, the footstool, 
the basement, were covered with paintings and statues de- 
tached or in relief. Round the throne the pavement was 
of black marble, the rest white. Immediately about the 
statue the floor was depressed, in order to hold oil, which 
supplied to the ivory the moisture required for its preserva- 
tion. It will be in the recollection of many that it was 
found necessary to inject oil into the ivory found at Nine- 
veh. In the Parthenon water was used instead, being 
found to answer the purpose as well, or better. By this 
exquisite care both the statues had been preserved in pristine 
perfection for nearly six hundred years. Round the in- 
terior, above the columns, ran a sort of triforium, by which 
people could get behind the statue, and a twisted stair- 
case led up to the roof. Of all this splendour the traveller 
sees now only some great drums and capitals and broken 
stones lying in a pit among heaps of rubbish and tufts of 
shrubs. We found there some pieces of pavonazetto which 
seemed as if they had formed part of a pavement. Per- 
haps they supported some later offerings. It is possible, 
also, that the temple was converted into a church, and they 
may have been used in its decoration. The Greeks in the 
classic times made no use of any of the coloured marbles 


which they might have had for the quarrying. The black 
was used, as here and in the propylea at Athens, but only for 
pavement. A great many tortoises were crawling in the 
sun over the stones. Among the ruins is a nourishing wild 
olive, perhaps a descendant of the very c kallistephanos/ 
the sacred tree brought by Hercules from the fountains of 
Ister, 'beyond the north wind, to be a shelter common to 
all men, and a crown of noble deeds/ ' The ' noble palm/ 
the ' palm of Elis/ which the Latin poet speaks of, was 
really only the kotinos, or wild olive. A hundred yards 
south of the temple is another apparently Roman build- 
ing, which cannot be identified. To the north is a low 
sandy pine-covered hill, which, in default of a worthier 
claimant, Ave must suppose to be the famous mountain of 
Kronos, which Pindar, in the set phrase of conventional 
compliment, calls u^r/Xoio -Trerpa aX'ificiTog Kpov'iov. This 
is another instance which should teach us not to expect 
literal accuracy from the Greek poets, especially from such 
as, like Pindar, were paid for their praise. In this case 
the sanctity and celebrity of the spot justified the applica- 
tion of epithets which, on material grounds, were utterly 
beside the mark. Colonel Leake speaks of a tumulus 
north of the temple. It appeared to me that the 'tumulus' 
was in reality part of the hill of Kronos, for their level sandy 
strata corresponded exactly. It appears to have separated 
from the hill in recent times, for the purpose of carrying 
an artificial watercourse between. In the complete ab- 
sence of all traces it is vain to speculate on the positions 
of the stadium and hippodrome. The former was pro- 

1 Pindar, 01. iii. 18. 


bably in one of the recesses formed by the hills, and the 
hippodrome which adjoined, as we infer from Pausanias, 
its lower extremity, perhaps ran at right angles to it along 
the level. There would scarcely be room, otherwise, 
between the end of the stadium and the bank of the 
river. There are no remains in all Greece which can 
be identified as belonging to a hippodrome. Hippodromes 
were always on flat ground, such as would be brought under 
cultivation when they were disused ; and the banks around, 
not being so high as those of a stadium, the space for spec- 
tators being so much greater, would be soon levelled by the 

Nowhere, perhaps, in Greece or the world is the con- 
trast so marked as at Olympia between the present deso- 
late aspect and the busy past history of a place. The 
remark is trite and obvious, but it would be mere affecta- 
tion not to make it again. Every four years the games 
here celebrated drew together crowds of men owning the 
Hellenic name, from Marseilles to Kertch, from Cyrene to 
the coasts of Thrace. With scarcely an interruption they 
were held at the appointed time for at least eleven hun- 
dred years. Because games with us are matters of little 
consequence, sneered at by grave men, and denounced by 
pious men, we are apt to think lightly of the games of 
antiquity. But this is a great error. To the Olympic 
games we owe not merely the odes of Pindar, but the 
chronology of all history, literary or political. Amid all 
the intricacies and complications of policy, through all 
changes of fortune in the component states, in spite of 
pestilence and war, the Olympic festival recurred with the 
regularity of a solar phenomenon. Hence, to the earliest 


compilers of general history it suggested itself naturally 
as a date which should supersede all others. Of all 
modern nations the English are most passionately attached 
to the athletic exercises by which the Greeks set so much 
store ; but we have no gathering among us which can 
afford anything like a parallel to the ancient festivals. 
If we could suppose all the best horse-races, foot-races, 
prize-fights, and wrestling matches, all the May meetings 
and musical festivals, to be fixed for the same place at the 
same time, and then conceive not merely that the Houses 
of Parliament should adjourn to attend, but even that in 
time of war a truce should be proclaimed during their 
celebration — imagine the assemblage of men of English 
blood from the furthest corners of the known world, to all 
of whom, and to their children, the name of the victor in 
the principal race would form an epoch and a date never 
to be forgotten, superseding that of the monarch or the 
president — if, I say, we can form such a picture as this, 
we shall have some idea of what the festival of Olympia 
was to the old Hellenic world. 

The last Olympiad, the 293rd, was celebrated in the 
year 393 of our era. The last victor, the last successor 
of the dynasty of Coroebus the Elean, was Varastad, an 
Armenian, who called himself a Roman. About the same 
time the statue of Zeus was carried off to Constantinople, 
where it perished in a fire in the year 476. When the statue 
was removed, the temple was perhaps converted, as I have 
said, into a church, perhaps into a ruin. There is no re- 
cord either of the time or manner of its destruction. The 
temple, reared on so grand a plan by Libo, and decorated 
with such costly skill by Phidias and Alcamenes, the 


object of the reverence, admiration, and munificence of all 
the civilized world for centuries, perished at last by igno- 
rance or fanaticism, and its fall caused not a murmur of 
regret. Like the fate of many a monarch who, born in 
the purple, surrounded with homage in the day of his 
power, and at last ' bankrupt of majesty/ is left to die by 
unknown hands, and buried without an epitaph. 

After staying three hours and a half among and about 
the ruins, we resumed our journey. Crossing the Cla- 
deus, we soon came to a wide sandy plain, which, I think, 
may dispute with the plain of Olympia the site of the 
battle of Prinitza, in which the gallant Frankish cavaliers 
defeated an army of Greeks ten times more numerous. 
The name Prinitza, like so many other names, has disap- 
peared, either because the place itself is gone, or because 
occupiers of another race have given it a new name ; but 
it is clear from the Chronicle that the battle took place in 
a plain in the lower valley of the Alpheus, and on the 
right bank of the river ; and as the object of the Franks 
was to prevent the enemy's advance into Elis, it is evident 
that they would engage as soon as the Greeks were come 
into ground sufficiently wide for the cavalry to attack with 

In front of us was the mouth of the Alpheus. A rocky 
strip of land stretches into the sea from the north side, 
crowned with a ruined castle which played an important 
part in medieval history. It was called by the French 
Beauvoir, and by the Greeks Pondikokastro, or ' Water- 
rats' Castle." In two hours we crossed another river, 

1 The French in their turn gave a facetious name to the castle of 



and came to a little village called Koukoura, where the 
peasants were swinging in a tree in honour of St. George, 
whose festival it was. From a rising ground close by we 
looked over a wide extent of level plain and sea, with the 
island of Zante in the background. By-and-bye we came 
in sight of Pyrgo, a considerable town of scattered white 
houses, lying on a sunny well-watered slope among vine- 
yards and clumps of trees. We put up at the house of 
one Aristides Elianopoulos, a breeder of silkworms, which 
were piled tray upon tray in every corner of the house 
except that which was devoted to our use. There is an 
English vice-consul at Pyrgo, a Greek by birth, who, 
hearing of our arrival, came in all haste to express his 
regret that we had not gone to stay with him. We found, 
also, a friendly Zantiote who, volunteering his services as 
guide, took us about the town. At every convenient level 
spot there was a group formed to dance and to look on 
at the Romaika. I cannot believe that this dreary, mo- 
notonous performance is descended from any dance, Cyclic 
or other, of the ancient Greeks. Only a phlegmatic semi- 
oriental people could take any pleasure in it. 

Akova, which was one of the posts commanding the turbulent dis- 
trict of Scorta, ' Mategriphon' or ' Trap for Greeks.' 



HP HE next day's ride was one of the longest and dullest 
-"- of the whole journey, over the flat plain of Elis. And 
yet the road commanded news of the mountains and the 
sea which would have charmed us if we had been entering 
the Peloponnese and had not been feasting our eyes for 
many days past on its various beauty. Riding through 
the vineyards which surrounded Pyrgo, we came to a low 
level, crossed by a road bordered with wet ditches, broken 
down in places and deep in mud. Far away to the right 
the burnished helm of Mount Olonos was shining in the 
sun. After surmounting a sandy hill, we came upon 
higher and dryer ground, partially cultivated, with olive- 
girt villages far apart and now and then a lonely house. 
On the right ran the low range of hills on which stood 
the city of Elis ; on the left the promontory of Clarentza, 
* the revered headland of Elis/ ' which was once an island, 
but long ages before Pindar's time had been joined to the 
continent by the alluvium of the Peneus. The central 
height is crowned by the towers of a fortress called by 

1 Pindar, 01. ix. 7. Cyllene, afterwards Clarentza, was the port 
of Elis, and the ordinary landing-place for those who came from over 
sea to Olympia. Hence the mention of it by the poet of Thebes. 

T 2 


the Italians Castel Tornese, and by the Greeks Chlomoutzi. 
The derivation of the latter word is evidently, says Colonel 
Leake, from the Romaic word ^A^og yXo/nog, "which is 
applied to hills of a regular form. It may be doubted, 
however, whether it be not merely a corruption of Clair- 
mont, the name given to it by Geoffrey de Yillehardouin, 
who built it in 1218-1220 a. d. Over the sea lay the 
island of Zante, so clear that we could discern the white 
houses of the town and the walls of the fort which crowns 
the hill behind. We crossed the Peneus, now called 
Gastouni, about three in the afternoon. The town from 
which the river derives its modern name lay some few 
miles on the left, and received its name, as Colonel Leake 
conjectures, from some follower of the French conquerors 
named Gaston. Andravida, the French capital, was not far 
from Gastouni, on the other side of the river. About 
half-past five we came to the forest, which consists of oaks 
in the dryer parts, with alders and willows fringing the 
marshy ground. We had here a heavy shower; and as it 
cleared off we caught glimpses of the sun setting over the 
sea and shining on the lagoons which line the shore. 
The level rays shone so brightly upon the young green 
leaves, that to our dazzled sight the trunks seemed pink 
and the shadows purple. We had many deep water- 
courses to cross, and muddy paths overhung with thicket 
to force our way through, before we arrived at our des- 
tined place of rest. When we did arrive the daylight 
and our patience were both spent. 

Ali Tchelebi, bearing the name of a former Turkish 
proprietor of the estate, is not a village nor even a hamlet. 
It consists of two tenements — the one a khan, the other a 


metoki belonging to the famous convent of Megaspelion. 
This latter is a building of considerable height, pierced 
•with scanty and irregular windows. The door is perhaps 
twelve feet above the ground ; and you get access to it by 
a flight of stone steps and a bridge of planks easily re- 
movable in time of danger. Besides these precautions, 
there is a strong crenelated wall surrounding the court- 
yard, now in these peaceful days falling to ruin. We 
chose, I forget why, to stay in the convent rather than 
the khan. We were at first refused admittance, on the 
plea that the abbot of Megaspelion himself and some of 
the brethren had come, and there was no room. Just as 
we were moving away the monk, who had opened the 
door, called us back, bade us enter, and showed us up a 
dark stair to a large room occupying nearly the whole of 
one story, which, notwithstanding our reclamations, the 
abbot and his suite insisted upon vacating in our favour. 

Next morning, as we were preparing to start, we found 
that one of our boys had fallen sick and one of our 
horses lame, so that the weight to be carried was in- 
creased and the carrying power diminished. After many 
groans and complaints, which might more fitly have come 
from the other horses which had the extra burden to 
bear, the thing was arranged, and both the invalids were 
brought safely to Patras, where a rest of two days restored 
them. The wood through which we rode consisted of 
scattered oaks, of the kind which produces the Yallonia, 
one of the principal articles of export from the district. 
About three miles from the convent is the Larisus, a 
small stream, which in old times divided the territory of 
Elis from Achaia. In three hours we came to the edge 


of the wood, and rested under an oak beside a somewhat 
scanty fountain for two hours and a half. We looked 
over a glen whose sides were planted with vines and 
maize, and over the nearer hills peeped the snowy ridges 
of Olonos. From this place a ride of three hours and a 
half brought us to Patras. After crossing a considerable 
stream, which must be the Peiros of Pausanias (vii. 18, i) 
and the Melas of Strabo (p. 386), being described by each 
as forty stades from Dyme and eighty from Patras, we 
rode along the edge of the shore, having on the right hand 
the fertile plain and terraced slopes of Patras, backed by 
the graceful lines of Mount Voidia, and on the left hand 
the narrow sea, looking even narrower than it is, with the 
bold mountain-barrier of zEtolia beyond. Opposite to 
Patras rises immediately out of the sea the abrupt moun- 
tain called Kakeskala, upwards of three thousand feet 
high, and in shape not unlike the roof of a pavilion of 
the Louvre. Turning round towards the open sea, Ithaca 
lies full in view, an insect of an island, almost cleft in 
two by a deep bay ; and beyond it the towering height of 
Cephalonia. Some have suggested that Homer calls 
Ithaca ' low' because it is so in comparison with the 
Black Mountain in the neighbouring island of Cephalonia; 
but this explanation does not meet the difficulties of the 
passage. 1 

As we entered Patras we met a funeral. The coffin, 
as is the custom, was open. The corpse, that of a young 
woman, was dressed in gay clothes ; the face was bare, and 
the mouth covered with a piece of scarlet riband. In front 

1 Vide page 205. 


the coffin-lid was borne upright, hung with wreaths of 
flowers, and before that a large cross. The attendants 
sang a low, monotonous chant as the procession moved 
along. The coldness and stillness of Death strike the 
mind with a sudden shock of awe, when seen beneath the 
rays of a cloudless sunshine and beside the ripple of 
glancing waters. 

Of the twelve cities of Achaia, Patras is the only one 
which has retained its ancient name and preserved a con- 
tinuous existence among all the changing fortunes of 
Greece. This it owes not merely to its excellent com- 
mercial situation, but also to the obvious recommendations 
which it offered as a military and naval position to the 
various Western nations who from time to time have 
gained, or aimed at, the sovereignty of the Peloponnese. 

Augustus, after the battle of Actium, made it a Roman 
colony. It was the seat of a Greek, and afterwards of a 
Latin archbishopric. It was the first citadel which was 
taken by the French invaders in j 205, and one of the last 
which was abandoned two centuries afterwards by the 
Venetians. It was the first place against which Andrew 
Doria, the great Genoese admiral, directed his efforts in 
1532. Here Morosini, the Venetian, landed in 1687, and 
after defeating ten thousand Turks commanded by 
Mehemet Pasha, under the walls of the town, captured it 
without further opposition. During the Venetian domi- 
nation it was one of the four capitals of the Morea, the 
others being Nauplia, Monemvasia, and Navarino. It 
Avas the first place captured by the Greek insurgents in 
1821, and through the disastrous years which followed 
suffered grievously 011 all hands. No place paid a dearer 


price for liberty j but its natural advantages endow it with 
an obstinate vitality in spite of all the calamities of war. 
In ancient Pagan phrase, Ceres and Minerva protect the 
city against the enmity of Mars. In Pausanias's time a 
great number of women were employed in the manufacture 
of ladies' caps and other vanities, out of the byssus, or fine 
flax, which grew in the adjoining plain. Now it has 
found a more abundant source of wealth in the production 
of the currant, — a source which will never fail so long as 
England keeps Christmas. The crop of the Peloponnese, 
in 1856, was estimated by the Osservatore Triestino at 
between thirty millions and thirty-five millions of pounds, 
fetching in the market a price varying from eighty to 
seventy-three colonnati for every thousand. The whole 
amount may be roughly estimated as being worth five 
hundred thousand pounds sterling. The island of Zante 
produces about nine million pounds of currants in a good 
year, but there is an export duty which places them at a 
disadvantage as compared with their continental rivals ; 
on the other hand, they are free from the direct taxation 
which the subjects of King Otho have to pay. 

There are two hotels in Patras. That of Great Britain 
(irav^oKzlov tvq MeyaXiig Bpsravviag) is clean, good, and 
cheap ; there is also a Turkish bath for the use of which 
natives are charged one drachma, foreigners three, and as 
many more as they can be induced to part with. 

Our plan had been to take a boat from Patras, and cross 
the gulf to Delphi ; accordingly, under the auspices of the 
English vice-consul (whose courtesy and kindness are ill- 
requited by being mentioned in a parenthesis), we engaged 
a trustworthy seaman to take us and our attendants, 


rational and irrational, to the Scala di Salona for twenty- 
four dollars. The bargain was made conditional on the 
duration of the westerly wind and nest day was annulled 
by a furious scirocco which set in from the east and 
threat ened, in the opinion of the weather-wise, to last a 
fortnight ; it did not, in fact, last three days, but before 
its cessation we had resumed our journey by land. The 
scirocco's natural direction is from the south-east; but it 
is headed round by the mountains at the end of the 
Corinthian gulf, and blows down it, as through a funnel, 
from the east, or from a point north of east. During the 
settled weather of summer the prevailing breezes are 
westerly, with this exception, that every morning, about 
an hour after sunrise, a sharp breeze sets in from the 
gulf and dies away as the day advances. This fact illus- 
trates the account given by Thucydides (ii. 83) of the 
operations of Phormion. In the summer of 429 b.c the 
Corinthians and other allies of Sparta fitted out a fleet of 
forty-seven vessels to convoy troops into Acarnania. 
Phormion, who had been stationed at Naupactus with 
twenty ships, was watching them as they coasted along 
the southern shore, keeping on the other side a little in 
advance. His ships were indeed not half as numerous, 
but less heavily laden, and manned with more skilful 
crews. He made no attack so long as the enemy kept in 
shore; but knowing that they must cross somewhere, he 
reserved his attack till he could make it at a favourable 
time, when they should be in the middle of the gulf and 
he should have room to execute the periplus and other 
manoeuvres in which the superiority of his force consisted. 
It was a game of skill against number. The enemy had 


brought up for the night at Patras, Phorruion at the 
mouth of the Evenus on the opposite side ; the Corinthians 
hoping by that means to get over unnoticed, weighed 
anchor in the night ; l but Phormion observed the move- 
ment, met them, and compelled them to fight in the open 
sea, midway. The enemy then arrayed themselves for 
defence, placing their triremes' prows outwards in a 
circle as large as they could without giving room for the 
Athenians to break through, and putting the transports 
inside. The Athenians meanwhile kept sailing round 
and round — executing the periplus, and by feigned attacks 
driving them into a still narrower compass, having orders, 
however, not to attack really till their commander gave 
the word ; for he was Avaiting for the breeze out of the 
gulf, which generally blew towards daybreak j thinking 
that with so many transports huddled together among the 
ships of war, they would be thrown into utter confusion. 
At last down came the expected breeze ; ship ran foul of 
ship, and the crews, engaged in pushing them apart with 
their poles, shouting and abusing one another, neither 
heard the word of command nor the boatswain's whistle, 
and being lubberly seamen, could not get their oars to 
work in the swell, and the ships consequently having no 
way on them, did not obey the rudder. The battle was 

1 I venture here to read afyopnio-ajievoi, a word which, though 
justified by analogy, is so rare that it has been corrupted in the MSS. 
to vcpoppiadfievoi. They brought up every evening as a matter of 
course, so did Phormion. The unusual move which they hoped to 
make, without his perceiving it, was the weighing anchor over 
night — an operation too important for the story to be left to be in- 
ferred by the reader. 


already won when Phormion gave the word of command. 
The Athenians captured twelve ships, and the rest fled to 
Patras and Dyme. 

The only point in this narrative which presents any 
difficulty is that Thucydides makes the breeze set in 
towards daybreak (tirl r^ eio), whereas my informant 
at Patras stated that it blew about an hour after. This is 
a discrepancy of little moment to the story ; such as it is, 
it tends to prove that Thucydides had never himself re- 
sided in the neighbourhood. Indeed, as he states the 
distance between Rhium and Antirrhium, at the mouth of 
the gulf, to be seven stades, whereas it is really about twice 
as far, I am inclined to suppose that he never saw the 
scene of the actions which he describes with such admi- 
rable force and vividness. There is no reason to suppose 
that the strait was ever narrower than it is ; and though 
Thucydides's informant, who perhaps had never thought 
of the distance when on the spot, might easily be so far 
wrong in his impression, it is impossible that any one 
measuring it with his eye should not have come nearer 
to the truth. This historian's account of the second sea- 
fight, at the close of the same summer, would lead a 
reader, unassisted by a map, to suppose that the breadth 
of water inside the mouth of the gulf was much less than 
it really is. The fact is, that the difference in this respect 
is not very great between the inside and the outside, cer- 
tainly not enough to justify the distinctive names of 
tvpvy^wpia and ra ariva. Besides, if the Peloponnesians 
stationed at Panormus sailed, as they are described in 
chap. 90, ( towards their own shore inside, in the direction 
of the gulf/ it would not have suggested to Phorrnion the 


notion that they meant to attack Naupactus. I am not 
sure that I have made my meaning clear, or can do so 
without entering into tedious detail; but as I sat on one 
of the sandy hills east of Patras, and read the history in 
full view of the scene, I felt confident that the writer would 
have written differently if he had been there. Among 
other points it is not explained why Phormion did not sta- 
tion himself at Naupactus. The inference you draw from 
the narrative is, because there was not sea room between 
it and Panormus to fight in, and that I conceive to have 
been the impression on the author's mind ; but in reality 
there is space enough for all the manoeuvres of which the 
best fleet was capable — five miles at least. 

In those days the town of Patrai stood upon the ridge 
of hills which is separated from the sea by the alluvial 
plain. This is shown by a passage in Thucy elides (v. 52), 
where it is said that the inhabitants, at the suggestion of 
Alcibiades, extended their walls to the sea. Being Achseans 
by blood, they had no sympathies with the Dorians, and 
had declared openly for Athens as soon as she appeared 
to be strong enough to protect them. These walls were 
to secure their communications with their allies, then 
masters of the sea, and to prevent a blockade of their city 
by the enemy. From the description of Pausanias we 
gather that the new city of Augustus extended to the sea, 
and probably occupied in great part the site of the modern 
town, having its Acropolis, where the castle now stands, at 
the extremity of the ridge. The Turkish town, again, 
occupied the site of the ancient Hellenic city; and now 
that the sea is as free from pirates as in the reign of 
Augustus, the new Patras, like the Roman colony, is built 


in the most natural and convenient site, close to the shore. 
The Acropolis of which Pausanias speaks occupied probably 
the place of the present castle. Within it were the 
temples of Artemis-Laphria and other deities. In the 
outer wall I observed a mutilated statue, an Ionic capital, 
and several columns built into the wall horizontally with 
the bases outwards, and many blocks which had been 
squared by some Hellenic hand. This part of the build- 
ing belonged, doubtless, to the Byzantine castle which the 
Crusaders took with so little trouble. Close to the walls 
of this castle stood the church of St. Theodore, the cathe- 
dral of the metropolitan see of Patras, which, in enlarging 
the castle, the French partly destroyed. A letter of Pope 
Innocent III. to Geoffrey, Prince of Achaia, is still extant, 
in which he repeats the complaints of the unfortunate 
archbishop, how that his throne had been destroyed, the 
bones of his predecessors dug up, &c. Some of the French, 
too, broke into his house, seized his steward, who had fled 
for protection to his master's arms, and, to use the pope's 
words, ' cruelly amputated his nose, only because he had 
faithfully defended the church's rights/ The prelate him- 
self was kept for five days in a ' dire prison/ I observed 
on the walls of the castle a bird, somewhat rudely carved, 
representing an eagle or a falcon. If the former, it may 
have been the cognizance of Guillaume de Alaman, first 
baron of Patras ; if the latter, it may have been put there 
by one of the family of Saint Omer, hereditary grand- 
marshals of Achaia, and whose original family name was 

As you enter Patras from the west there is a large new 
church dedicated to St. Andrew. It is the only church I 


saw in which the artists employed to paint the altar screen 
with figures of saints have ventured to abandon the stiff 
angular Byzantine type. Close to the church is a well 
called also after St. Andrew, and believed to possess 
miraculous powers of healing. It is covered over with 
Byzantine masonry, and the descent to it is by a flight of 
steps. This is the only spot in the modern town which 
can with anything like certainty be identified with the 
description of Pausanias. A stream or a fountain survives 
many successive buildings, and a local superstition attached 
to either has the best chance of permanence. A tradition, 
to be lasting, must be writ on water. 

1 There is a grove by the seaside affording commodious 
promenades and pleasant recreation in summer-time. 
Close to it is a sanctuary of Demeter, and in front of it 
a spring with a stone wall over it on the temple side, 
with a descent made to it from the outside. There is 
an oracle which never fails, not dealing with all sub- 
jects, but only consulted about sick people. They let 
down a mirror by a cord, so as just to touch the top of 
the water, and then, after praying to the goddess and 
burning incense, they look at the mirror, and it shows 
them the sick person either living or dead/ ' 

The holy well is supposed now to have a healing, not 
a prophetic power, and the magic of a Pagan goddess is 
changed into the beneficence of a Christian apostle. 

In a garden belonging to a certain M. Kritiko there is 
a sarcophagus which seems to belong to the Roman times, 
but is executed with great spirit and truth. In front there 

1 Pausanias, vii. 21, 5. 


are six Bacchant children, two and two, and at each corner 
one. Behind them are garlands in relief. This relic 
would have found its way to London or Paris before now 
but for an order of the government forbidding the exporta- 
tion of works of art. No one can object to the issuing of 
such an order; but then it should have followed as a 
corollary to the establishment of museums in the country. 
As it is, all the antiquities remain in the keeping of those 
who find them until such time as the Greek treasury shall 
be rich enough to buy them — which -will be about their 



A FTER three days' stay at Patras, we set off at eleven 
-*"*- o'clock in the morning of May the ioth. The 
scirocco still blew with unabated strength, producing lan- 
guor and uneasiness in man and beast. This effect is 
due, I think, not to its heat, but to the fact that, being 
exceedingly dry, it holds the dust, as it were, in solution. 
In other words, it is filled with minute and impalpable 
particles, which get into the throat, eyes, and nose, and 
stop up the pores of the skin. We had not, however, 
ridden many miles when it suddenly ceased, and the 
angry foam of the waters of the gulf gave place to a 
glassy smoothness. After passing the sand-hills near 
Patras, we came opposite to the low, marshy spit of land 
which joins the Castle of the Morea to the shore; and 
then rode for several hours along a path sometimes dipping 
down to the shore, but generally keeping along the steep 
side of hills thickly covered with shrubs, and more sparsely 
with pines and other forest trees. The sea and the bleak 
hills on the other side were in sight on our left nearly all 
the way. About five o'clock we came to a more open country, 
where the steep hills recede and leave a ledge of fertile laud 
between them and the sea. We saw here and there a village 
in the midst of vineyards and corn-fields, and shortly after 


the large houses of Vostizza appeared in sight. We 
arrived about seven, and found the whole population at 
church. On this day and the next there were to be 
special services to pray for the cure of the grape disease, 
which had now prevailed for five years. We waited for 
some time before the door of the house to which we had 
been recommended, till the crowd poured out of church 
and came down the street, and among them the portly 
person of our intended host. He was one of the principal 
merchants in the place, and we had a letter to him from 
our kind friend the vice-consul, who was connected with 
him in business. He seemed at first more surprised than 
pleased at seeing the group collected round his door; but 
as soon as he had read the letter, he welcomed us with 
exceeding cordiality. The house was the largest and the 
best furnished which we had yet seen in Greece. All the 
family were in their dresses of ceremony — I think it was 
the eve of the feast of St. Alexius — the men in white 
kilts, the ladies in jackets of tight-fitting velvet and 
wearing red fez caps with long blue silk tassels em- 
broidered with gold. Our host could only speak his own 
language ; but there was a brother-in-law who had studied 
medicine in Paris, by whose aid we carried on a brisk 
conversation over the chibouques and coffee. 

The failure of the currant-crop was the chief theme. 
For several years past the grape disease had reappeared 
as regularly as the fruit set, and neither prayers nor 
remedies had been found effectual. This year a new 
remedy was to be tried — powdered sulphur blown on to 
the grapes with a kind of bellows. Some of the priests 
opposed the use of human means, but the fathers of 



Megaspelion had more worldly wisdom. They had made 
a bargain with our host whereby he was to furnish the 
sulphur and apply it to their grapes on condition of 
sharing half the produce. The experiment proved after- 
wards perfectly successful, and must have added largely 
to the treasures of the Kyrios Soteri Panaghiatopoulos. 

Vostizza, which beyond all question occupies the site of 
the ancient iEgium, stands in a beautiful position at the 
corner of a tableland stretching from the mountains to 
the gulf. The torrents on either hand have thrust out 
tongues of alluvial plain into the gulf, and so made some- 
thing of a sheltered port for the town of Vostizza. On 
the seaward side is a steep cliff, and between the foot of 
the cliff and the shore a narrow strip of level ground. 
Here is a fountain of abundant and excellent water 
gushing out from sixteen pipes, and close by a magnificent 
plane-tree, the pride of Yostizza, which, though past its 
prime, is still the largest in Greece. It measures forty- 
five feet in girth at a height of three feet above the ground. 
I have only seen two others which could compare with it 
— one in the seraglio at Constantinople, the hollow trunk 
of which is used as a baker's shop, and another between 
Therapia and Buyukdere. About the trunk of the Vostizza 
tree — as it was a holiday — a goodly number of men and 
boys were assembled. It is the lesche of the town ; and 
a pleasanter spot for the purpose could not well be 
imagined. It was early morning in early May, and the 
place was full of pleasant sights and sounds, such as 
Theocritus loved — a fountain prattling at our feet; waves 
rippling on the beach hard by ; and overhead the breeze 
shaking the leaves and tassels of the plane-tree together, 


and making the very shadcnvs dance merrily to the music. 
The fountain, which here, as at Patras, has survived all 
other antiquities, enables us to tell how this vacant 
ground between cliff and sea was occupied seventeen 
hundred years ago. ' In /Egium, by the seaside, is a 
place sacred to Aphrodite, and after it one to Poseidon, 
a third to Persephone, and a fourth to Zeus-Homagyrios. 
In that place are statues of Zeus, Aphrodite, and Athene. 
The surname Homagyrios was given to the Zeus because 
Agamemnon assembled in this place all the most notable 
men in Hellas to deliberate in common how to undertake 
the expedition against Priam's kingdom. Next to Zeus- 
Homagyrios is a temple of Demeter-Panachaia. And the 
shore in which the aforesaid temples belonging to the 
iEgians are, produces water in abundance from a spring 
sweet both to look at and to drink/ ' The epithets of 
Zeus and Demeter show that here was the meeting-place of 
the Achaean league, and that this, like Grutli and Runny- 
mede, is one of the holy places consecrated to Liberty. 

Livy says (xxxviii. 30) : ' From the beginning of the 
Achaean league the national assemblies were summoned 
to meet at iEgium — an honour due either to the dignity 
of the city or the convenience of its position/ This state- 
ment is not strictly true. There was an Achaean league 
from time immemorial, consisting of twelve federated cities. 
The assemblies were held at Helice, a city about five miles 
east of iEgiurn, which was completely destroyed by an 
earthquake and a consequent irruption of the sea in the 
year 373 b.c, together with all the inhabitants. The 

1 Pausanias, vii. 24, 1. 
U 2 


country people who survived probably thought it better to 
join themselves to iEgium, their next neighbour, than to 
incur the trouble and cost of building a new city, an enter- 
prise from which superstitious motives also would combine 
to deter them. At all events, jEgium succeeded to the 
lands and privileges of the submerged city, and became the 
meeting-place of the league. The peculiar epithets given 
to Zeus and Demeter date, no doubt, from this time, and 
are due to this cause. The legend which attributed the first 
convocation to Agamemnon is curious and significant, both 
as respects the effrontery with which it was invented and the 
simplicity with which it was believed. Some time after this 
the meetings of the Achaean league were interrupted by 
the Macedonians, who established a petty tyranny in each 
city. At length, in 281 b.c, the towns of Dyme and 
Patrse, Tritea and Pharse, effected their deliverance, and 
formed the nucleus of a new confederacy. Five years later 
iEgiuni obtained its freedom, and was again made, no 
doubt from the influence of old associations, the place of 
assembly. It was with this second league alone that the 
Romans had any connexion, and hence Livy ignores the 

As I have said, there are no Hellenic remains of build- 
ings ; but vast quantities of bricks and pottery attest the 
existence of the ancient city. Owing to its abundant 
water and commodious port, and the fertility of its soil 
and the salubrity of its site, there has probably been a 
town here in all time, which received its new name from 
an immigration of Sclavonians. The French called it 
Voustice, and made it one of the twelve great baronies of 
their principality. Hugh de Charpigny was the first 


baron. The tragic fate of his descendant Guy is told in 
the Livre de la Conqueste as Froissart himself might have 
told it. 

In the year 1295, wn en Florence of Hainault was 
Prince of Achaia, Walter von Liederkerke his cousin, 
captain of Corinth, and residing in the castle, seized one 
Photi, a wealthy Greek, and kept him in a dungeon. As 
the prisoner showed no inclination to pay the ransom re- 
quired, Walter von Liederkerke had recourse to the form 
of distress-warrant which Front de Bceuf found so effica- 
cious with the Jews. After Photi had lost two teeth his 
avarice gave way, and he ransomed the rest for 10,000 
' perpers/ Photi having complained in vain to the prince, 
resolved to take revenge with his own hands. The rest 
shall be told partly in the words of the chronicler (p. 328). 

' Si avint chose ainxi que les aversites et les fortunes 
entrevienent aux gentils homes et aux prodomes qui vont 
par cest chetif siecle, que le noble baron, Monseignor Guis 
de Cherpiegny le Seignor de la Yostice si aloit en cellui 
temps en une barque par mer de la Yostice a Corinthe ; 
et ses chevaux et sa maisnie aloient par terre. Et einsi 
come il aloit par mer, si lui vint voulente de descendre 
en terre pour mengier plus aise. Si prist port a un leu 
que on appelle Saint Nicolas au Figuier a une fontaine 
qui illeucques est. Et ainxi come il issi en terre en la 
compaignie de deux chevaliers et quatre escuiers si appa- 
reillierent son mengier encoste la fontaine. Et ainxi come 
il estoit assis et menjoit avec sa compaignie, si avint 
d'aventure que Foty, que cellui qui ades avoit espies et 
faisoit gaitier celle voie pour soi revangier se trova a 
celle contree avec une bone compaignie de gent qui cher- 


9oient ' (? chacoient) . The baron and his friends seeing 
the hounds along with the men, took them only for a 
hunting party. f Et pour ce les attendoient sans panser 
nul malice/ and continued their repast. ' Et Foty qui 
vit Monseignor Guy, qui resembloit aucques a Monseignor 
Gautier pour ce qu'il avoit la chiere blance et estoit 
blondes, si le feri de l'espee un grant coup sur le chief, si 
que il le fist embrunchier a terre ; et puis le referi plusieur 
autres coups. Et ainxi come il le feroit si va dire : ' Or 
prenes, Monseignor Gautier, vostre loier/ Et quant la 
gent de Monseignor Guy oierent nomer Monseignor 
Gautier et cognurent que ce estoit Foty si escrierent : 
' Ha ! Foty, ha ! Foty, que faites vous qui tues le Seignor 
de la Vostice pour Monseignor Gautier/ ' When Photi 
heard this he threw away his sword and began to weep 
very tenderly, and fell at the feet of the wounded man, and 
cried him mercy : f Ha ! sire, ayes pitie et merci de moi et 
me pardones car je ne vous cognissoie mie/ &c. So the 
friends of Guy took him to the boat and sailed to the port 
of Corinth, where they arrived the same evening. ( Si 
mirent Monseignor Guy sus un paleffroy; et le menerent 
a la cite a moult grant paine pour ce qu'il estoit navres 
au chief d'un coup mortel.' 

The ' mires' {i.e. medecins) came and examined his 
wounds, and found one so deep that only a miracle of God 
could cure it. So knowing that he was not a man who 
loved falsehood or flattery, they told him all his danger. 
So he sent for a friar minor, who was a wise man and a 
good scholar, and to him he confessed, and received the 
sacrament with much devotion, and then made his will. 
And after having thus fulfilled all his duties, he only lived 


one day. And from his death came great harm to the 
country of the Morea, for he was a noble man and well 
beloved. 1 

The simple charm of the story is somewhat marred in 
my abridgment. But even so, my readers will still think it 
worth the telling. No one can fail to be struck with the 
vivid picture of a vanished age. We seem to see the white- 
sailed boat as she comes scudding before the wind down 
the blue gulf, watched by the darkling crafty Greek, who is 
beating the coverts on the hill-side for stags, but really in 
quest of far other game. We can fancy the jovial baron, 
with his fair face and blond hair, eating his pasty and drink- 
ing his malvoisie in the shade beside the spring, with no 
suspicion of harm and no prescience of fate ; we seem to 
hear the waves rippling on the shingle, and the plane-tree 
rustling in the wind — six hundred years ago. 

Before we left Vostizza we went to the house of M. 
Demetrios Petmazas to see two statues which had been 
found close by. They are both about the size of life. The 
one is a draped female figure with the left hand wrapped 
up all but the thumb and forefinger. The other, which, 
as a work of art, appeared to us much superior, repre- 
sents, probably, Antinous holding a palm-branch. 

We then took leave of our host, and set off about 
nine a.m. for Megaspelion. As we rode through the 
vineyards which cover the slopes on the south-east side of 

1 Buchon calls Guy the son and successor of the first Baron 
Hu°-h ; but as he had received the barony ninety years before the 
tragedy just narrated, at which time Guy was still a man in the 
prime of life, there was probably one generation at least between 


the town, where the vines grow luxuriantly among the 
debris of the old city — broken bricks and potsherds — we 
witnessed a curious ceremony. A priest was carrying the 
skull of St. Alexius, their most precious relic, accompa- 
nied by other priests or acolytes bearing crosses, and a 
large crowd of people in holiday costume, from vineyard 
to vineyard, stopping at each and chanting. The object 
of their intercession was the removal of the disease. 
After crossing a large river-bed, now nearly dry, in about 
an hour and three quarters from Yostizza we came to 
another smaller stream, and turned up its left bank to- 
wards the hills. On the opposite side of the ravine is a 
cavern which, to judge from the artificially smoothed rock 
and the large holes cut in it, had in old times a vestibule 
of masonry in front. It may be the cave mentioned by 
Pausanias as that of Hercules, near the town of Bura. 
But there is another cave marked in the French map on 
the eastern side of the next hill. On both these hills are 
some scanty Hellenic remains, identified on the map with 
Korynsea and Bura respectively. If this be right (and 
the text of Pausanias seems so far to favour it), then the 
cave of Hercules is the other cave, as it was clearly to 
the north-east of Bura; but a difficulty arises as to the 
river Crathis and the town of yEgira. From Pausanias, 
one would infer that the river Crathis was very near the 
cave (vii. 25, 7), and the town of JEgira is stated by him to 
be only seventy stadia from it — a distance greatly exceeded 
in the map. Possibly the text is not free from corruption. 
At all events, a more accurate examination of the district 
requires to be made in order to settle the question. 

By-and-bye we halted under the shade of a huge 


perpendicular cliff of conglomerate, overlaid in places, 
from top to bottom, with a thick layer of stalactite, 
formed by the water trickling down its face. The glen 
up which we had come was thickly grown with myrtles 
and arbutus. From this point we had higher and more open 
ground to cross. At noon we reached a khan called 
1 Makaron/ a little to the south of the ruins which are 
supposed to mark the site of Bura. The trees afforded 
scanty shade, but it was a breezy place, and a spring 
flowing into a pond close by supplied good water and 
plenty of cresses, now, as of old, called Kdrdama. From 
thence the road continues to ascend for forty minutes 
through a wood — scattered planes and oaks — to the top of 
a ridge, from which there is a grand view of Mount Khel- 
mos, with its snows and precipices, to the south-east. 
Turning to the north is a prospect which combines all the 
elements of picturesque beauty in a way which I had never 
seen paralleled. Immediately in front are broken masses 
of mountain, with cliffs grey below and red above, belts 
of dark pine on the ledges, and tracts of bright green sward 
on the upper slopes ; beyond, looking down the ravine that 
parts the hills, a strip of plain by the shore, then the blue 
gulf, and over all the snowy heights of Parnassus and 
JEtolia. Beauty of form is the unfailing characteristic of 
Greek scenery; monotony of tint its customary defect. In 
this prospect the colours are vivid and various in a degree 
that would be remarkable anywhere. From this point 
there is a long descent, and nothing worthy of note, 
except on the hill-side a fountain, which is said to be cold 
in summer and warm in winter. Herodotus mentions a 
spring in the desert with a similar property. The obvious 


explanation that the water is of uniform temperature and 
seems therefore cold in the hot season, and vice versa, though 
our guide scornfully rejected it, is beyond doubt the true 
explanation. A phenomenon exactly similar is presented 
by the temperature of a good cellar, and in the case of 
the spring the natural reservoir is probably so far below 
the surface that it is not affected by change in the exter- 
nal air. 

We cross the stream just before its entrance into a 
dark, narrow defile between abrupt precipices, and come 
before sunset to a glen artificially terraced and irri- 
gated, and divided into a multitude of little gardens, the 
handiwork and property of the monks of Megaspelion. 
The fruit-trees and hedges were clamorous with nightin- 
gales. In a few minutes more we arrived at the gate of 
the convent. "We presented a letter which our host at 
Yostizza had written to the hegoumenos, were admitted, 
and after waiting some time below, were conducted up a 
series of dark staircases to a room in the uppermost story, 
— the guest-chamber — a room with wainscoted walls and 
wooden divans, on which carpets were spread for our use. 
A numbe v of monks visited us in succession. One of 
them favoured us with a history of the Septuagint trans- 
lation, which he unhesitatingly attributed to Demetrius 
Phalereus. The others listened in silence to their learned 
brother, evidently proud of him. 

Next morning we inspected the convent. Of all the con- 
vents of the Eastern world, this of the Megaspelion has 
probably been most frequently visited and most frequently 
described. I will therefore confine myself to a brief 
sketch. I have before mentioned, as characteristic of this 


region, the perpendicular cliffs of conglomerate. Megas- 
pelion, ' the great rock/ is one of them, rising to the 
height of three hundred feet at the head of a narrow glen 
in the midst of steep hills and thick pine woods. The 
base of the great rock has been scooped out by nature and 
art, so as to form a huge cavern, of which the deepest re- 
cess serves for a church. In front, parallel to the face of 
the rock, runs a solid wall twenty feet thick, to judge by the 
eye, though the monks said thirty; and upon this rest the 
successive stories of the convent buildings, continued up 
to the face of the overhanging rock, and at each stage be- 
coming more rickety and irregular. The monks affirmed 
that the height to the topmost story was sixty metres. 
This, however, seemed to be as much over the mark as 
Colonel Leake's estimate of sixty-five feet to fall below it. 
The effect of the whole, as seen from a little distance in 
front, is exceedingly grotesque. If the semi-human Aris- 
tophanic swallows had set themselves to build a factory in 
Xephelococcygia, this is the sort of structure that might 
have resulted. Within all is mean and miserable except 
the cellars ; the library is a narrow closet, holding perhaps 
150 volumes deep in mould and dust; of its contents no 
one could tell us anything. The ' learned brother ' was 
not there. The Handbook, I know not on what authority, 
states that the books are of no great value or curiosity. 
The only work which we saw deserving mention was a 
MS. of part of the New Testament, dated «■ xfJa , i.e. 
a.m. 6701 or a.d. 1193. Colonel Leake says, ' There are 
none but ecclesiastical books in the monastery;' I noticed, 
however, a printed Aristotle, and two or three other profane 
works. The refectory is a filthy room furnished with 


rotten tables and benches. In the dismal cell -which 
serves for a church there is a hideous carving in low relief 
of the Virgin and Child — the work, they tell us, of St. 
Luke — before which a single oil-lamp is kept burning. 
These Greek monks have none of that skill in art which 
wins our admiration for the Carthusian, nor of that zeal 
for learning which claims our gratitude for the Benedic- 
tine ; nor, if outward signs and public opinion may be 
trusted, have they aught of that devout spirit failing 
which these institutions are unworthy of respect, are pur- 
poseless and mischievous. Before our visit we received 
warnings from several quarters not to leave anything of 
value unprotected, as the honesty of the monks was not to 
be relied on. The insinuation may or may not have been 
just, for we took care not to put their honesty to the test. 
I mention it as showing the estimation in which the 
fathers are held. Of their sordid love of money and 
shameless importunity we had proof enough. A few 
hundred yards in front of the convent a little platform, 
with a fine group of ilex-trees upon it, projects from the 
hill-side. This is the cemetery. The graves have no 
name inscribed. A few years after burial the bones are 
dug up to make room for a new comer, and thrown into a 
kind of outhouse close by, which is half filled with these 
ghastly unhonoured relics. 



TTTE left the convent at half-past eight in the morning 
of the 12th of May, taking with us a young monk, a 
native of Solos, and therefore acquainted with the road, to 
guide us to that place. Among the many tracks which in- 
tersect each other in the woods leading to this or that 
field or pasture tended by the monks, it is very easy to miss 
the right one, and this is what befel our attendants, who 
strayed down into the valley instead of climbing the hill. 
The young monk, standing on a prominent rock, shouted 
with all the power of his lungs. It was some time before 
he got an answer, except from the echoes ; but at last a 
far-off shout was heard in reply, and the wanderers by-and- 
bye rejoined us. We called our monk Philammon, after 
the hero of Mr. Kingsley's tale. He was wonderfully 
active and stalwart withal — a handsome, sensual face, with 
fine dark eyes and a wild mass of black hair hanging down 
his back. In the excess of his spirits he played all manner 
of antics, unimpeded by the gown which reached to his 
ankles. By-and-bye we came upon a large party of monks 
digging a watercourse in order to irrigate a pasture, busy 
and seemingly happy in their work. Thence we rode through 
a wooded glen, opening out here and there into a grassy 
glade, till at eleven we reached a copious fountain deserv- 


ing its name of Krya Vrysis. In another half hour we 
reached the top of the pass called by the monk c Skylo- 

The prospect northward toward Parnassus and the gulf 
of Crissa, which is seen winding into the land with beau- 
tifully sweeping curves, is scarcely inferior to that of yester- 
day. On the other side, immediately below us, are enormous 
precipices of white calcareous stone breaking abruptly into 
the valley of the Crathis. We descended for an hour by 
a steep path rough with shale; and before reaching Solos, 
turned off to the right, under the guidance of ' Philam- 
mon/ sending the others to wait for us at the village. 

In half an hour more we came in sight of the head of 
the glen — a grand specimen of mountain scenery. Mount 
Khelmos here breaks away in a vast wall of precipitous 
rock many hundred feet high, but choked with a heap of 
debris reaching half way up and sprinkled here and there 
with meagre pines. Over the jagged line which marks 
the top of the precipice we see the higher slopes covered 
with snow, and from a notch in the mountain side a thin 
stream of water falls down the cliff on to the rugged heap 
below. Every now and then the stream is lifted by wind 
and scattered over the face of the cliff, which, elsewhere 
grey with lichens and weather-stains, is, where thus 
washed, of a deep red tint. This thread of water is one 
of the sources of the full clear stream which flows through 
the glen and joins the Crathis below Solos. The stream 
and the waterfall are both called Mavro-Nero, or Black- 
water, and are, beyond question, the same stream and 
waterfall which in Pausanias's time had the name of Styx. 
I give here a compressed translation of his narrative : — 

STYX. 303 

c Westward from Pheneos are two roads — that to the left 
leading to the city of Kleitor, that to the right leading to 
Nonacris. In old times Nonacris was a strong place 
(7r6\i(Tjua) of the Arcadians, but in my time only some 
scanty ruins were to be seen. Not far from the ruins is 
a high cliff. I know of no other that reaches such an 
elevation ; and down the cliff drips water, and the Greeks 
call it the water of Styx. The author of the Theogonia, 
whom some think to be Hesiod, has personified the Styx. 
.... Above all, Homer has introduced the name of Styx 
into his poem, for he says in ' The oath of Hera/ 1 l Witness 
herein be earth, and the broad heaven above, and the fall- 
ing water of Styx/ The expression seems as if he had 
seen the water of Styx dropping. And in the Catalogue 2 
he makes the water of the river Titaresius to flow from 
the Styx. And he represents the water as being in Hades 3 
when Athena says that Zeus has forgotten how by her 
means he saved Hercules : ' For had I known these things 
in my cunning mind, what time Eurystheus sent him to 
the place of Hades that keeps his gate fast, to bring from 
Erebos hateful Hades' dog, he had not 'scaped the sheer 
streams of Styx/ 

' The water that drops from the cliff beside Nonacris 
falls first on to a high rock, and after passing through the 

1 Homer, Iliad, xv. 36 — 

icrrco vvv rode yaia ical ovpavos evpvs vnepQe 
Kai to Kareifiopevov Srvyos v8a>p. 

2 Ibid. ii. 756— 

opKov yap 8eivov Srvyos vBaros eo~Tiv anoppay^. 

3 Ibid. viii. 369. 


rock, runs down to the river Crathis. This water gives 
death to man and every other animal. Glass, crystal, 
agate, and earthenware are shivered, and horn, bone, and 
metals rotted by this water. The only thing which can 
contain it is a horse's hoof. It is said that Alexander the 
Great was poisoned by this water, but I do not know the 
truth of the story/ 1 

The belief here expressed by Pausanias in the identity 
of the Arcadian waterfall and the Homeric Styx seems to 
have been accepted by all subsequent travellers and modern 
geographers. It is a belief which one is glad to share 
and loath to disturb. We clutch eagerly at every visible 
link connecting the present with the past ; we feel an in- 
describable pleasure in looking upon an object which we 
suppose Homer to have seen, if not with the bodily, at 
least with the mind's eye, and in finding an illustration of 
unchanged nature in the works of immortal genius. It 
is, however, worth while to examine the point more nar- 
rowly — even at the risk of giving a rude shock to senti- 
ment — because the solution of the question is an important 
step towards estimating the geographical significance of 
Homeric poems generally. If the author of those poems 
had seen or known of this waterfall in the wildest valley, 
and in the very centre of the Peloponnese, the fact would 
lead us to infer a similar knowledge of the topography of 
other parts of Greece. Indeed, he who was acquainted 
with her secluded mountain-wildernesses would certainly 
be familiar with her cultivated plains and ' well-built ' 

1 Paus. viii. 17, 4, and 18, 1—2. 

STYX. 305 

We have, then, to discuss this question : Is Pausanias 
right in identifying this waterfall with the Homeric Styx ? 
It appears to me that the very passages he has quoted, 
taken with their context, prove the contrary. In the oath 
of Hera calling to witness heaven and the earth and the 
waters under the earth, the Styx is obviously conceived by 
the poet as belonging to and representing the under-world. 
In any other sense the witnesses invoked by Hera are not 
co-ordinate or homogeneous. The same words occur in 
the Odyssey (v. 184). This inference follows, also, from 
a consideration of the passage from the catalogue. The 
river Titaresius, which is a tributary of the Peneus, is an 
' arm' or outlet of the Styx, which here again is in the 
mind of the poet a river of the under-world, — not a 
mere thread of water trickling down a rock, but a great 
abounding flood, of which one of the rivers of upper earth 
is a fraction. Similarly iu the Odyssey? when Circe 
directs Ulysses on his voyage to Hades, he is to cross the 
stream of ocean far beyond the confines of the inhabited 
world and to moor his ship on the further shore, ' where 
to Acheron flow Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus, which is an 
outlet of the water of Styx.' The third passage quoted 
by Pausanias scarcely needs comment. He himself re- 
marks that the Styx there mentioned is in Hades. 
Strange that he should suppose it to be also in Arcadia. 
It may be observed, too, that Homer, 2 speaking of the 
Arcadians in the catalogue, mentions Mount Cyllene, the 
tomb of ^Epytus, and nine cities, but says not a word about 
the Styx. If in this same catalogue he makes such espe- 

1 Horn. Od. x. 514. ' Horn. II. ii. 603. 


cial mention of the Titaresius, an arm of the Styx, surely 
he would not have omitted all notice of the Styx itself. 

But in truth all the natural features, rivers or moun- 
tains, which are connected with the earliest forms of Greek 
mythology, with the vague horrors of Pelasgian supersti- 
tion as distinguished from the anthropomorphic realism of 
the Hellenes, are to be found north of the Corinthian gulf. 
To return to the Styx. The Homeric ideal is that of a 
great river falling down in a sheer cataract to the under- 
world, and then running with a mighty stream to infinite 
distance, flowing as well beneath the roots of the Thessa- 
lian hills as below the palace of Hades beyond the ocean 
stream. In the Theogonia we have a description of the 
Styx much more detailed than the aggregate of Homer's 
allusions, but in the main so accordant with them, as to 
furnish a strong ground for claiming for this part of the 
poem an antiquity scarcely less than for the Iliad and 
Odyssey. There Styx is represented both as a person and 
a river. ' As far below the earth as earth is below heaven, 
w r here the Titans are imprisoned beneath the roots of earth 
and sea, where Day and Night meet and greet each other, 
where dwell the dread brethren Death and Sleep, on whom 
the sun never shines, where the palace of Hades and Per- 
sephoneia is guarded by the hateful dog — there dwells also 
the goddess, hateful to immortals, Styx, eldest daughter 
of refluent Ocean, in halls over-roofed with lofty rocks, 
apart from gods. Thither Zeus sends Iris to bring from 
that far place the mighty oath of gods in a golden ewer 
— that renowned water cold that pours down from a rock 
huge and high — and with copious stream it flows beneath 
wide earth through black night from the sacred river 

STYX. 307 

(ocean) — a horn of ocean, the tenth part thereof. Nine 
parts of ocean roll in silver eddies round land and water, 
and then fall into the sea, but the tenth part pours from 
a rock, mighty bane of gods/ ' Then, after detailing the 
penalties which the gods must pay for perjury, if they have 
sworn by this water, the poet proceeds, ' Such an oath 
did the gods make the water of Styx imperishable 
primeval, which she sends through a rugged region/ 

Pausanias has not quoted nor alluded to this part of the 
Tlieogonia, though he says that when he read that part 
in which Styx is called the wife of Pallas (383 sqq.) he 
thought it not genuine. He has told us that gold, like 
other metals, is incapable of holding this wonderful water, 
yet in the Theogonia we see that Iris fetched it in a golden 
ewer. I should like to have seen the matter-of-fact gravity 
with which he would have endeavoured to reconcile the 

Let us now turn to the passage of Herodotus which is 
generally adduced to confirm the statements of Pausanias. 
The historian is speaking of Cleomenes who, he says, was 
organizing a confederacy of Arcadians against Sparta, and 
was particularly anxious to insure their fidelity by assem- 
bling the chiefs at Nonacris, and exacting an oath from 
them on the water of Styx. 2 ( Now, the Arcadians say 

1 Hesiod, Tlieog. 719-806. I have omitted what had no re- 
ference to my immediate subject. 

" Herod, vi. 74 — eV 8e Tavrrj ttj noKei Xeyerai eivai vtt Ap<d8av 
to Sriiyos Z8a>p Kai 81) <a\ ecm. roiovSe rt" v8cop oXiyov <pa.ivop.evov e< 
7T€Tpr]s ard^ei es aynos to 8e ayieos alpaairjs tis Trepidiei kvkXos. This 
account accords in the main with that of Theophrastus (Leake, iii. 162), 
who describes the water as dropping ' from a sort of bit of a rock — en 


that in this city is the water of Styx, and there actually 
exists what I am about to describe. A little water appear- 
ing from a rock, drops into a hollow, and round the hollow 
runs a kind of circular wall. And Nonacris, in which 
this fountain is situated, is a city of Arcadia near Pheneos/ 
It will, I think, be obvious to any one acquainted with 
Herodotus' s style, that he is here speaking of what he has 
himself seen ; and to me it is equally obvious that the 
description does not apply to Styx of Pausanias. What 
Herodotus saw Avas a scanty source of water, probably 
within the walls of Nonacris, which fell drop by drop into 
a pool, around which a wall protected the sacred and pre- 
cious water from the touch of profane persons ; not a 
mountain torrent pouring over a rock hundreds of feet 
sheer down into a gorge choked with the ruins of the 
mountain, to which only an adventurous mountaineer could 
gain access, and whither in all likelihood no human foot 
had ever climbed ; for no goat would stray there in search 
of pasture, and among the old Greeks, the most matter- 
of-fact people that ever existed, there were no amateurs 
ready to peril life and limb for the sake of varying the 
monotony of civilized life or satisfying a vague sentimental 
craving for the horrors of nature. The Styx of Herodotus, 

tivos TrerpiSlov — a singular phrase to apply to that which was the 
highest precipice Pausanias had ever seen. Even Plutarch's notion of 
Styx — or, properly speaking, the notion of the writers from whom he 
copied — seems to have been a kind of dropping-well which hardly 
even dropped. Speaking of the poison given to Alexander, he says 
(Alex. 7/)' T ° ^ (pappanov v8a>p eivai \jsvxpbp kcii 7rayera>8es dwo nerpas 
twos iv 'Na>vaKpl8i ovarjs r\v coairep dpocrov XeTrrrjv dvaXap^dvovres els 
ovov X r f^') v diroridevrai. 

STYX. 309 

moreover, had no outlet, else why guard it with a wall ? 
The modern Styx appears at the foot of the gorge an 
abundant and perennial river. This again is remarkable. 
Pausanias had Herodotus at his fingers'-ends, guiding his 
pen, as one may see coustantly by his phraseology ; and 
in this very passage he uses the word (ard'Cu) which Hero- 
dotus had used ; and yet he never alludes to the historian's 
account of Styx. How comes this ? The fact is, I believe, 
that he did not know what to make of it ; he saw that the 
description did not suit the phenomena, and so abstained 
from quoting what he could not explain. His employment 
of the word gtoC^i, which would assuredly not have been 
suggested by the waterfall itself, was suggested by Hero- 
dotus. The older writer would certainly never have used 
it for the 'pouring' of a stream; but in the time of the 
later writer it may, like many other words, \a\ziv for in- 
stance, familiar to Hellenistic scholars, have lost its special 
meaning, and have been used in a generic sense for the 
falling of water, instead of its ' dropping ' or c dripping.' 
I suppose that when the old Styx had been forgotten 
among the ruins of the deserted Nonacris, the most remark- 
able water in the neighbourhood was promoted to the 
name, and had been firmly established as the Styx before 
Pausanias's time. A certain rough agreement with the Ho- 
meric and Hesiodic words was quite enough to sanction what 
everybody was glad to believe. In the Island of Ithaca, in 
the little cove called Dexia, there was a grotto by the sea- 
shore, which all were agreed to believe was the very grotto 
where Ulysses hid his treasures after the Phseacians had 
put him ashore. Now this grotto was ruthlessly blown 
up by the British government, because it was in the line 


of a projected road; but government could not explode 
the tradition, which has taken refuge in another cave half 
a mile inland. There it "was that Ulysses hid his trea- 
sures, &c. And future generations of dilletanti will be- 
lieve in cave No. 2 as devoutly as past generations believed 
in cave No. I. And, indeed, why disturb these harmless 
illusions ? If I had thought that my reasons could pro- 
duce any effect, I would not have said a word. But I 
feel assured that reason is powerless against sentiment, 
and that all travellers, in all time to come, will continue 
to believe in, and to swear by, the Styx. Let them. The 
great bane of gods can do harm to no man. By the way, 
I could not learn that there was any ground for the asser- 
tion that the neighbouring people have to this day a super- 
stitious dread of the water, and a conviction of its poison- 
ous qualities. Our guide, c Philammon/ whom I questioned 
about it, repudiated the charge as an injustice, and, slap- 
ping his stalwart thighs, said, c It was the water of Styx 
that made these/ As we crossed the river I tasted 
the water, and found it excellent. Neither its tempera- 
ture, colour, nor flavour is such as to suggest or support 
the notion of its having a preternatural origin. "When 
Colonel Leake was at Solos, not one person, not even the 
schoolmaster himself, had heard of the Styx. The river 
was then called, like so many other rivers, Mavro-Nero — 
a complimentary name. A consequential person who, 
with the other able-bodied inhabitants of Solos, favoured 
us with his company during our al fresco breakfast there, 
angrily denied the statement, maintained that it had been 
always called Styx, and grew quite warm on the subject. 
Since the government decreed the restoration of the ancient 

STYX. 311 

names, Greek patriotism lias taken a curiously topographi- 
cal turn, and the identity of a site is maintained as posi- 
tively as a political commonplace elsewhere. Few men 
have patience to make themselves learned, but, failing 
that, any one can be dogmatic and pedantic — and all are. 
The village of Solos stands on a slope overlooking the 
confluence of the so-called ' Styx' with the river Crathis, 
the latter still retaining traces of its ancient name in 
' Akrata.' Leaving Solos at 4 p.m. — an hour too late, as 
our habit was — we followed a path which wound along the 
slopes on the left bank of the Crathis. The earth here- 
abouts seems to consist of broken shale, so that the tor- 
rents which in winter-time pour down the hill-sides cut 
deep gullies for themselves, and oppose a formidable ob- 
stacle to the horse and his rider. Owing to the nature 
of the soil, no permanent pathway can be obtained along 
the steep banks, and the animals have to crawl as best 
they may in and out of the ravine by means of a groove 
in the bank on either side. In one of these places a horse 
of our cavalcade lost his footing, scrambled, and was within 
an ace of rolling down the steep. If he had, his rider's 
travels would have come to an abrupt termination, and the 
public would have been spared the infliction of the present 
narrative. Crossing the main stream, we begin a steep climb 
through pine woods, the path in places resembling a winding 
stair with interlaced roots for steps. At 6.20 we reach the 
crest of the ridge which, like the stream born in its bosom, 
was called anciently by the name of Crathis. A little further 
on we came to the edge of the descent on the southern 
side, just where was a break in the forest; and suddenly 
our eyes were greeted with a scene of which the charm 


was enhanced by the surprise. Two thousand feet below 
us lay a wide expanse of still water deep among the hills, 
reflecting black pine woods and grey crags and sky now 
crimson with sunset. Most beautiful at that moment, it 
must be beautiful at all times. The glory of sunset clouds 
and the mystery of evening shadows may enhance its love- 
liness, but the light of common day cannot steal it all. 
Here, in the heart of Arcadia and Peloponnese — a land 
where lakes are few and far between, and water so pre- 
cious and so sacred, that every pool had its legend — is a 
lake seven miles long and seven miles broad, washing the 
base of famous Cyllene, which yet has been sung by no 
poet, mentioned by no historian, described by no geogra- 
pher from Pausanias to the author of the Handbook. 
Hitherto every spot had been familiar to us by name from 
boyhood, and the sight of each caused a pleasurable sen- 
sation like that which one feels at making a long-desired 
acquaintance ; but now we felt the delight of discovery, 
such as Livingstone may have felt when he found a new 
Niagara in the Zambesi, or Pizarro when he ' stared at the 
Pacific/ silent upon a peak in Darien. The French map, 
it is true, marked a lake on the place ; but so the maps 
give a lake Copais, which grows rice, cotton, and reeds, 
and is such a lake as surrounds the Isle of Ely; and 
as our books spoke only of a flat, partly marshy, plain, 
we were not prepared for a real lake, worthy to be 
matched for size with Windermere, and for beauty with 
Lucerne. The mystery was fully explained the next day ; 
meanwhile we made haste to descend. Ere long night 
fell. The path was steep and stony, and the thick woods 
overhead made it doubly night. However, about eight 

STYX. 313 

o'clock we emerged from the forest, and found our- 
selves close to the convent where we were to sleep. 
It would have been misplaced gratitude to thank our 
stars for our safety. Indeed we were not yet at the 
end of our journey. In proposing to pass the night 
at the convent we had reckoned without our hosts. 
The doors were fast barred ; the monks were asleep, 
or at least feigned to be so. It could not be real 
sleep, for they must have been roused by the vigilant 
clamour of half a dozen sheep-dogs which, left loose 
about the premises, bayed deep-mouthed defiance as we 
approached. As usual, they only barked at us, and — 
after the Auglo- Saxon custom of deodand, which, by the 
way, was embodied also in the oldest criminal law of 
Greece 1 — avenged themselves by biting the stones we 
threw at them, thus proving the identity of dog-nature, 
or the permanence of Cynic tradition, since the time of 
Plato. 2 In vain we battered at the gate. The monks 
were obdurate as their bolts and bars, so we were obliged 
to move off, our attendants the while venting their wrath 
in loud and emphatic terms, impugning the orthodoxy of 
the fathers, and doubting, to say the least of it, their sal- 
vation. We made our way in about half an hour, over 
comparatively level and open ground, to the village of 
Phonia. People wakened out of their first sleep are 
naturally sulky, and we met with several successive re- 
fusals. In vain the dragoman asserted that we were 
' Lordoi,' that is to say, foreigners prepared to pay for 
shelter — f the rank is but the guinea's stamp ' — neither 

1 Demosth. c. Arisfocr. p. 645. 2 Republic, v. p. 469. 


avarice nor charity availed to open the door. At last the 
paredros or ( adjoint ' of the village was induced to take 
us in, and save us from an al fresco night, -which high 
among the mountains, and early in May, is much too 
' fresco' to be pleasant. It was past midnight before we 
got to bed. 



FOR many ages past, perhaps ever since the establish- 
ment of the Adamite world, Poseidon seems to have 
been disputing with Demeter the possession of the Phe- 
neatic plain. In the Acropolis of the city was a bronze 
statue of Poseidon-Hippios, 1 the same that smote the rock 
of the Athenian Acropolis and brought forth a spring of 
barren salt water, what time Athene beat him in the con- 
test by inventing the olive. Close by, as it seems, was a 
temple of Athene-Tritonia. Demeter was worshipped by 
the grateful Pheneates with singular rites, under the three 
titles of Eleusinia, Kidaria, 2 and Thesmia. There was an 
artificial bed made for the river, fifty stades long and thirty 
feet deep ; made, as the people told Pausanias, by Hercules 
himself; but the obstinate stream had returned to its old 
channel.' 'Most of all gods they honoured Hermes/ 
which indicates that, having found skill and labour impo- 
tent to prevent, and prayers and sacrifice unavailing to 
avert, the catastrophe which perpetually menaced them, 
they had come to regard good luck as their best friend. 

1 Pausanias, viii. 14, 4- The details which follow are derived from 
this and the next chapter. _ 

2 Kidaria, probably from Mapis, an oriental head-dress, the 
« Arcadian dance' so called is perhaps a dialectic variety of Map*. 


The natural phenomena so vitally interesting to the 
Pheneates themselves are not so much as mentioned by 
any extant author before Strabo. We need not wonder 
at this. Pheneos was an insignificant place in the midst 
of horrid mountains, lying in no one's path. Its name is 
mentioned once by Homer 1 without even an epithet, and 
once, quite incidentally, by Herodotus. 2 Strabo 3 quotes 
Eratosthenes as saying ( that the river Anias converts the 
ground in front of the city of Pheneos into 'a fen, and falls 
into certain narrow channels called Zerethra ; and when 
these have been stopped up, sometimes the water overflows 
on to the plain. This had occurred, according to Pliny, 4 
five times. When Plutarch, if Plutarch it be, wrote the 
treatise De Sera Numinis Vindicta, the whole plain 
was, and had clearly for some years past been, under 
water. 5 When Pausanias was there the plain was dry, 
and from the vague manner in which he mentions the tra- 
dition of a former inundation, we may infer that none had 
occurred for some time. 

After this Pheneos disappears from history. Year by 

1 Iliad, ii. 605. " Herod, vi. 74. 

3 Strabo, viii. 8, 5. 4 N. H. xxxi. 5. 

ap ovv ovk aroTTwrepos tovtcov 6 AttoWcov ei (fievedras aTroWvat. 
tovs vvv ep<ppd£as to (Bdpadpov kcli KaraKkvcras ttjv -^aipav a7raaav 
ai/Tcov, on Trpb ^tXtcoi/ ira>v, a>s (paaiv, 6 'HpaKXrjs avacnrdcras rbv 
Tplnoha top els <&evebv a.TrrjveyK€ ; no stress is to be laid on 
the ' thousand years,' which is merely a round number. How was 
Plutarch to know or to care in what year Hercules committed the 
burglarious act in question ? Colonel Leake's inference that the story 
of the submersion is untrue, ' otherwise the exact date would have 
been known,' is unwarranted, and has been signally confuted by the 
subsequent commentary of nature. 


year its waters rose and fell unnoted, except by the rustics 
thereby dwelling — Arcadian, Sclavonian, Albanian. It re- 
appears in Colonel Leake's pages under the name of Phonia. 
When he was there in 1806, the state of the plain seems 
to have been much the same as what Eratosthenes de- 
scribed as its normal condition — partly fen, partly fine dry 
ground. Its subsequent fortunes were described to us by 
our host, the paredros of the village, thus: In 182 1 
the lake began to fill, till at last all the plain was flooded. 
In the year 1833, ' the year of King Otho's arrival/ he 
added significantly, as if there was something more than 
mere coincidence in it, the waters broke away. In 1838 
the lake began to fill again, and this time it was owing to 
the malignity of the people of Lycuria, who stopped up 
the Katabothra. 

Our faith in the accuracy of our informant was some- 
what shaken by our further inquiries. On the other side 
of the lake, about fifty feet, as I guessed, above the pre- 
sent water-level, there is a horizontal line running along 
the slope of the hill exactly like a high- water mark. 
' And/ said the paredros, ( that is the level which the 
water reached in 1764 — time of the Venetians/ As the 
f time of the Venetians' had come to an end forty-six 
years before, we withheld our belief of the rest of the 
statement. It is, no doubt, of this very mark that Pau- 
sauias speaks. ' Once upon a time, when the water over- 
flowed, they say that the ancient Pheneos was submerged / 

1 Paus. viii. 14, 1. — It is obvious at a glance that we must read 
KaTaKXvo-drjvai (as indeed Siebelis does) for the KaraXvOr^vai of the 
1 2 m0 Tauchnitz. This is one of the worst texts ever printed (albeit ' ad 
optimorum librorum fidem accurate edita'), and they have stereotyped it ! 


so that even in our time traces were left upon the moun- 
tains up to which they say the water rose/ There is no 
corresponding mark on the banks about Phonia, and the 
probability is that it is not a water-mark after all. Col. 
Leake attributes the appearance to the evaporation from 
the water, but the discolourment so produced would surely 
not terminate abruptly in a regular line. It is more 
likely to be the mark of junction of two strata, the lower 
of which is less adapted for vegetation. A personal in- 
spection of the place woidd settle the controversy at once, 
but the point did not seem to us then to be of sufficient 
moment to warrant the detour. 

Phonia is a village of scattered detached houses, on 
gently sloping well-watered ground, with tall trees and 
green fields and orchards all about it. Close to the lake 
is a conical hill, the Acropolis of the old city. Pausanias, 
indeed, describes the hill on which it stood as ' precipitous 
on all sides ' (inroTO/iiog iravTa^oOav), which can hardly be 
predicated of this hill ; but the slope is still very steep, and 
was, no doubt, much steeper before the ruins of successive 
buildings cumbered its base. At all events there are most 
undeniable Hellenic walls, with three towers, still to be 
traced. One of the towers is about fifteen feet square. Some 
of the stones composing the wall are as much as three 
feet long, and the masonry is as regular as that of Mes- 
sene. On the eastern side is a platform, artificially levelled, 
which may have been the site of a small temple, probably 
that of Athene-Tritonia, the only one which is mentioned 
by Pausanias as being in the Acropolis. On the top is a 
ruined tower, of the ' time of the Venetians/ It is sad 


to see at the edges of the lake the remains of the drowned 

Leaving Phonia at half-past eight, on May 13, we rode 
eastward along the margin of the lake, and crossing the 
river Aroanius, or Anias, now a scanty stream, turned to- 
wards the south, still keeping the lake close on our right 
hand. We passed two ruined houses yet bearing the 
name of a former Turkish occupant, * Khamil Bey.' Soon 
turning to the left, we ascend the hills and reach a village 
known by the not unfrequent name of Kastania, at a quarter 
before twelve. We had ridden very slowly, the poor horses 
having got nothing to eat the previous night but some 
green Indian corn. Remounting at two, we descend a 
steep path to a ruined khan, whence the road is through 
level ground as far as the Stymphalian lake. As at Phonia 
we expected to see a fen and found a lake, so at Stym- 
phalus we expected a lake and found a field. Having 
known and believed in the Stymphalian lake from child- 
hood, we were disappointed to see it in rig and furrow. 

The reason why Stymphalus was celebrated while 
Pheneos remained obscure, is, I suppose, that it was a 
thoroughfare not only for persons going from Sicyon and 
Phlius to Orchomenos, but also for Corinthians, Athenians, 
and Boeotians travelling by land to Olympia. 

Turning to the right, we rode over corn and pasture in 
search of the Katabothron. We soon came to a stream run- 
ning swiftly in a channel ten or twelve feet deep, which it 
has scooped for itself in the accumulated sand, hastening to 
the cavern which yawns for it at the foot of an abrupt lime- 
stone cliff. At the mouth of the cavern were wooden piles, 


broken here and there by the violence of the current, the 
object of which was to prevent any large solid substance 
being carried in which might stop the passage and so inflict 
upon Stymphalus the plague of Pheneos. 1 The grey face 
of the rock tufted with red flowers, the dark cave, and the 
turbid river, making its mad plunge from sunlight to dark- 
ness, presented a striking picture to the eye and the imagi- 
nation. It is not always that one can approach so near. 
Colonel Leake says 2 ' The plain of Stymphalus is about 
six miles in length, of which at present the lake occupies 
about a third in the middle/ . . . . ' The natives do not 
confirm the assertion of Pausanias 3 that in summer there 
is no lake, though it is confined to a small circuit around 
the Katabothra.' Certainly, when we were there, on the 
13th of May, there was no semblance of a lake. 

On the northern side of the plain, and parallel to its 
length, is a platform of rock isolated, except at the western 

1 Such a calamity did actually befal in Pausanias's own time (viii. 
22, 6). It seems the Stymphalians had neglected to keep properly a 
certain feast of Artemis. * So (ovv) some timber falling into the 
cavern where the water goes down, prevented it getting away, and 
they say that the plain became a lake for a space of forty stades' 
(reading Teao-epaKovra for the impossible TerpaKoaLovs). 

2 Travels in the Morea, iii. p. no. 

3 The words of Pausanias (viii. 22, 3) seem to refer to a lake, small 
even in winter and dry in summer, beside the source of the stream. 
iv 8e 77/ 2rvp<fid\co xeipcbvos pev wpa \l/ivt]v re ov peydXrp/ f) Trrjyr), nai 
air' avrrjs irorapbv noiel tov 2Tvp.(pa\ov' iv depei Se irpoaXip-vd^et. pev 
ovbev eri } 7rorap.6s §e avrUa iaTLV dno rrjs 7rrjyrjs' ovros es x^H- - 7V S 
Kareia-iv 6 irorapos k.tX. He evidently was there in summer only, 
and perhaps misunderstood what the natives told him as to the site 
of the lake. When he saw Stymphalus, clearly there was no lake at 
the Katabothra either. 


end, and rising abruptly from the level, about two hundred 
yai'ds long by sixty broad, where it is broadest, and on an 
average forty or fifty feet in height. Along the outer edge 
of the summit may be traced a wall of partly polygonal 
and partly Hellenic masonry, which has evidently sur- 
rounded the whole platform. It is most perfect on the 
side towards the plain, where the basements of several 
towers are still extant. At the western end the walls ter- 
minate in a large square tower. The rock, inside the 
circuit, bears frequent traces of human occupation, having 
been artificially levelled for building or for pathways. The 
eastern extremity has evidently been the site of a temple, 
and has been separated from the rest by a wall. Towards 
the south, too, outside the wall, the rock has been 
escarped and hewn into ledges for seats or steps. About 
the middle, just below the rock on the south side, is a 
fountain, behind which a semicircular recess has been hewn, 
perhaps — I speak from memory — thirty feet in diameter. 
On the same side may be traced in the plain the founda- 
tions of walls both at right angles and parallel to the face of 
the rock. On the north side, towards the hills, runs from 
the great tower before-mentioned, at right angles to the 
direction of the rock, a wall or causeway nearly twelve 
feet wide, and which, after about three hundred yards, ter- 
minates in a tower and what seems to have been a gateway. 
No allusion to these remains, which are assuredly for 
the most part of very great antiquity, is to be found in 
Pausanias. Either he was suffering from a fit of laziness 
when visiting Stymphalus, or from a lapse of memory 
when writing about it. All that he says is in substance 
this : — 


' The Styinphalians are said to have been originally set- 
tled in a different part of the country, not in the present 
city. There was a legend that in old Stymphalus Teme- 
nus nursed Hera, &c. ; but no monument connected with it 
is found in the present city, which contains nothing worth 
mentioning but the fountain from which Hadrian carried 
the water by aqueduct to Corinth, and an old temple of 

As to the position of the ' fountain ' here alluded to 
there can be no question. It is where the river Stym- 
phalus issues from the foot of the mountain, somewhat 
more than a mile, as I suppose, from the ruins on the 
rock. On the way thither we pass several scattered re- 
mains belonging to one or more temples. I remember, in 
particular, a large fragment of a cornice, of which the ma- 
terial was the same as that of a ruined church near it, 
beautiful white limestone. The church has been very 
large, and seems to have been built in the best times of 
Byzantine art. It appears to have had a precinct en- 
closed with walls, and perhaps formed part of a convent. 

Colonel Leake says : f The ancient town surrounded the 
projecting cape, and extended from thence to the source of 
the river inclusive/ With this I cannot agree. It would 
suppose Stymphalus to have been one of the largest cities 
in the Peloponnese, Avhereas there is every reason to 
infer, from its insignificance in history, that it was one of 
the smallest. Its name even does not occur in the index 
to Mr. Grote's History. Strabo 1 mentions it as one of 

Strabo, viii. 8, 2. — The other cities are Mantinea, Orchomenos, 
Hersea, Kleitor, Methydricm, Kapkyeis, Aftenalos, Kyntetha, and 



the cities which in his time had ceased to exist, or of 
which scanty traces were left. If the old Stymphalus — for 
such the rock above-mentioned unquestionably was — had 
been included within the walls of the town when Pausanias 
was there, how could he have failed to speak of it ? The 
truth, I imagine, was this. The Stymphalians had aban- 
doned the ancient site long before his time, and removed 
to the base of the hills between the fountain and the place 
where now stands the ruined church. Probably the Stym- 
phalus of his day was little more than a village. Whatever 
were the reason, he seems to have taken very slight in- 
terest in the question; and when told that the old 
Stymphalus was ' in another place/ acquiesced without 
further inquiry. As I have suggested in a previous note, 
he seems to have been also mistaken as to the position of 
the lake. 

Our curiosity was damped and our investigations 
shortened by a heavy shower of raiu, the forerunner, as 
we fancied, of a wet night, so we made haste to depart. 
The sky was again clear when we reached, at half-past 
six, the Albanian hamlet of Khaliani, where we were to 

Pheneos. These f) oi>/ceV elo-iv, rj poXis avrav "x v l 4> a '<' v(Tat *"" 
arjfxfla. Teye'a 5' en fierpicos avfifxtvei. 

Y 2 



TT'HALIANI lies in a little level plain — a sheltered 
J -^- nook among the bases of Cyllene. The steep slopes 
of the lower hills, breaking away here and there in scaurs 
of red earth and seamed at intervals with capricious tor- 
rent-tracks, are clothed for the most part with holly-leaved 
ilex and other shrubs, whose rich brown tint is now varied 
and brightened with the fresh green shoots of spring- 
time. Above these soars the great mountain, visible to 
the very summit. "Where all other vegetation has ceased, 
a scattered forest of black pines has rooted itself in the 
grey limestone. From among the pines rises an irregular 
cone, utterly bare. In the manner of an ancient poet, 
one might imagine that around the summit, consecrated 
to Hermes, a magic circle had been drawn, beyond which 
the spirits of the wood were forbidden to intrude. In 
the rifts a remnant of snow is still lying, like veins of 
quartz — the last shreds of the winter's robe which a short 
month ago had not a rent in it. As we rode on our way 
towards S icy on we had this monarch of Arcady con- 
stantly in view. From no point does he look more regal 
than from Khaliani. 

The hamlet designated by this sounding name consists 
of about half-a-dozen houses, in the largest of which we 
were lodged. There are two rooms in it — one above, one 


below. The latter is half underground, and serves, I 
suppose, as storehouse for the less perishable household 
and agricultural stuff; the upper chamber is accessible by 
a flight of steps. Three-fourths of it is used as a granary, 
but at one end is a hearthstone, and about it a small 
space kept clear for the use of the family, who sleep 
around with feet towards the fire like the spokes of a 
Avheel. I have said elsewhere that the Albanians have, 
as a general rule, lighter hair and complexion than the 
inhabitants of the plains. They are also, I think, more 
strongly built, and have more regular features ; but their 
faces are not lighted up by the dark, keen, southern eye 
which is in itself beauty. Exposed as they are to rough 
weather and hard work almost from their cradle, the 
young people, and young women especially, have little of 
youthful delicacy in tint or form, and no youthful supple- 
ness in gesture or motion. The dress of the men, if 
rude, is picturesque enough : kilt and greaves, and sheep- 
skin jacket, not unlike the dress of a figure in the fore- 
ground of Velasquez's ' Adoration of the Shepherds/ in 
the National Gallery. The kilt is of linen, and has once 
been white ; it is never changed, and consequently never 
washed, except in an occasional shower. 

The costume of the women is of a still more savage 
simplicity. A sack of thick Aroollen stuff, reaching from 
neck almost to ankle, wraps them formless in its fold. It 
must, indeed, be a superb beauty that could triumph over 
such a toilet. 

I have already said 1 that these colonists from Albania 

1 Page 252. 


are exceedingly anxious to be reckoned as Hellenes. 
Neither is there now any antipathy on the other side 
to prevent this desired amalgamation. Though originally 
unopposed or even welcomed immigrants, difference of 
blood, language, and habits fostered for a long time secret 
animosities between them and their lowland neighbours, 
of which the Turks cunningly, or perhaps merely in- 
stinctively, availed themselves, and not unfrequently em- 
ployed Albanians as agents and instruments of oppression 
against their fellow-Christians. Some of them had even 
embraced Mahonimedanism. The conspicuously gallant 
part, however, which they played in the "War of Liberation 
has obliterated all recollections of old grievances, and the 
adoption of the Albanian as the national costume of 
regenerate and rechristened Hellas is an official mark of 
complete reconciliation. We shall probably find the 
grandsons of these Albanians calling themselves Epami- 
nondas, Phocion, and so on, and bragging of their glorious 
ancestors as do those descendants of multifarious bar- 
barians who now call themselves Hellenes — a name to 
which they have little better title than the modern Mexi- 
cans or the modern Britons to theirs. 

The permanence of the old language is the one point 
of difference in their favour, but in a question of race 
this does not tell for much. The language spoken by an 
uneducated Greek scarcely resembles the ancient tongue 
more nearly than the language of the Spaniard or the 
Provencal resembles Latin ; and if the modern dialects 
of Spain and Provence had not been stereotyped by long 
civilization and literary culture, it would have been almost 
as easy to bring them back to the old grammatical forms 



as to restore to the modern Romaic the inflexions and 
vocabulary of ancient Greece. And yet how small, we 
may he sure, the infusion of Roman blood in the Pro- 
veD9al and Spanish people ! 

Moreover, no other nation has suffered under circum- 
stances so unfavourable as Greece, ever since the loss of 
its independence, now nearly twenty-two centuries ago. 
Besides continuous misgovernment and chronic disunion, 
the successive pestilences which, coming from the east, 
have scourged Europe, seem to have spent upon Greece 
the first force of their malignity ; and successive hordes of 
barbarians, repelled from the frontiers of stronger states, 
have found here an unresisting prey. Even before the 
sixth century of our era, Sclavonian colonies had begun to 
settle in the deserted lands of that peninsula, the remotest 
and least accessible of Greek provinces, which was after- 
wards to be called by a word of their own— Morra, Morea. 
The great plague of 746 cleared the way for more immi- 
grants. ' All Hellas .and Peloponnese was made Sclavish, 
and became barbarian when the plague desolated the earth 
in the days when Constantine Copronymus swayed the 
sceptre of the Roman empire/ This is the testimony 
of Constantine Porphyrogenitus/ himself emperor. In his 
time the Sclavonians had assumed Greek names and begun 
to intermarry, even with the imperial house j but there 
was, it seems, still some distinction between them and the 
Romans (for so the Greeks called themselves) in com- 
plexion or feature. Now such distinction is entirely 

Quoted by Mr. Finlay: Medieval Greece and Trehizond, p. 21. 


obliterated, and the ' Hellenes ' ' of Sclavonian descent 
do not differ from the other Hellenes in person or in 

There was, however, yet another cause in operation 
long before the time of Goth or Hun or Avar, and more 
potent than them all for corrupting the purity of Hellenic 
blood — I mean slavery. The earliest glimpse which we 
get of that ancient people shows us slavery in all forms, 
domestic and predial, rooted among the national habits 
as an immemorial institution, and an active slave trade 
carried on without question and without stigma, as if it 
w r ere a law of human nature. Long after the stigma had 
been attached to the traffic it continued to flourish, and 
indeed only ceased at last when, besides being discre- 
ditable, it came also to be unprofitable. Slavery itself 
did not perish in Greece till the tenth century after 
Christ. Century after century the population of ancient 
Hellas was recruited by large and frequent importations 
of Thracians and Scythians ; and there can be no doubt 
that, in the zenith of Hellenic power, the free population 
was far outnumbered by the servile — the Hellenes by the 
barbarians. Even then the purity of race, if it ever had 

1 If the terms Hellas and Hellenes be considered as merely 
' geographical expressions,' and not asserting a claim of descent from 
the ancient Hellenes, there can he no objection to them. In the time 
of Pausanias the word Hellenes was no longer applied to all the race, 
but only to the inhabitants of a district nearly conterminous with the 
modern kingdom of Otho. In this sense the word was used by the 
Byzantine historians, who always affected classical phraseology, long 
after it had been disused by the people themselves. Mr. Finlay men- 
tions that a citizen of Constantinople would have been insulted by 
being called a Greek or Hellene instead of ' a Roman.' 


any meaning as applied to the Hellenes, was fast becoming 
a fiction. The barbarian origin of this and that so-called 
1 Athenian 5 supplied the comic poets with an inexhaustible 
theme. Some even of the greatest Athenians did not 
disdain to intermarry with, or refuse to acknowledge their 
descent from Thracian and Scythian families. Miltiades, 
Thucydides, Demosthenes, are examples to the point. No 
institutions, municipal or political, could be of any avail 
to prevent a gradual admixture of alien blood and an ul- 
timate confusion of races. Quid leges sine moribus vanse 
proficiunt ? and what ' morals/ we may ask, can there be 
co-existent with slavery? In ancient Greece the morals, 
so far as they concern the present question, were more 
lax, and the retro-active evils of slavery greater, than in 
modern America. And why ? Because in America the 
differences of race, as shown in complexion, feature, and 
mind, between master and slave, are so great as to pro- 
duce a mutual repugnance, and to ensure detection and ex- 
posure of secret sins by stamping all offspring with a brand 
of affiliation. It was not so in Greece. The great majority 
of Greek slaves came of races physically as noble as their 
masters, and of intellects not naturally so acute, but 
capable of a high degree of refinement and culture. The 
best and most profitable slaves were those who became 
most rapidly Hellenized. The Davus and Syra who 
waited behind the couch of Mecsenas spoke Attic and 
sang Greek songs to Greek music. Thus society in 
G reece wanted the safeguards which protect it in America. 
It may, indeed, be laid down as a general rule, that 'the 
retro-active mischiefs of slavery ' (as I have ventured to 
call them) are greater in proportion to the relationship of 


race between master and slave. According as the national 
sin is more shameful and flagrant, so is the retribution 
more speedy and terrible. 

These arguments, drawn from historical facts, make it, 
to any unprejudiced mind, perfectly certain that the pro- 
portion of Hellenic blood which now runs in the veins of 
King Otho's subjects is infinitesimally small. Those who, 
in spite of these facts, maintain the opposite thesis are 
either Greeks or Ionians, actuated by a pardonable national 
vanity, or foreigners anxious to combat a doctrine which 
stultifies their own Philhellenism. The writers and 
speakers on this side whom I have read and heard, judi- 
ciously avoid historical ground, and support their position, 
first, by insisting on the permanence of the language, and, 
secondly, by asserting the uniformity of type, physical 
and moral, which characterizes the present Greeks, and 
the resemblance of that type to the ancient Greek. 

First, as to the language : The fact of its permanence, 
however corrupted, is worthy of all admiration, but, pro- 
perly interpreted, warrants no inference as to the genealogy 
of those who speak it. A Hellenist is not necessarily a 
Hellene. The genius and enterprise of the ancient Hel- 
lenes, which won for them their long-continued pre-emi- 
nence in colonization, commerce, and letters, ensured also 
the adoption of their language as the earliest lingua franca 
of the Levant. When the interests of different nations 
come to be closely connected, and intercourse frequent be- 
tween them, then there grows up an imperious necessity 
for such a lingua franca for bargains in peace and parley 
in war. Even in the time of Herodotus this want had 
begun to be felt, and he found in the most distant cities 


which he visited in Africa and in Asia Hellenist inter- 
preters. The conquests of Alexander added a new impulse 
to the Hellenistic tendencies of the world. After his 
death, Alexandria, Pergamos, Antioch, &c, became the 
capitals of kingdoms called Greek, not because either sove- 
reigns or subjects were of Greek blood, but because Greek 
was the language they had adopted in common. These 
nations, I repeat, may fitly be called Hellenist, but not 
Hellenic, just as the peoples of France and Spain may be 
called ' Romance/ but not Roman. The Hellenistic 
tongue absorbed and overpowered a multitude of local 
jargons, and converted each new capital from a very Babel 
into a ' city of articulate- speaking men.' The most ob- 
stinately tenacious of all sects found it necessary for the 
general understanding of their own holy books to have 
them translated into this master-language— that language 
which obtained its crowning triumph when, three centu- 
ries later, in it were delivered the last oracles of God. 
The New Testament consecrated what was before the 
language of art, literature, and commerce as the language 
also of religion ; thus, on the one hand, providing for its 
still wider extension, and on the other, securing it against, 
or at all events arresting the progress of corruption. To 
the children of the orthodox church, of whatever race, 
the language of the Gospels and of the Liturgy was the 
mother-tongue— the use of which was almost an article of 
faith from which, to their immortal honour and the credit 
of our common Christianity, neither persecution, nor sword, 
nor any other creature could separate them. 

Thus, while I deny that the existence of the Hellenistic 
language warrants any claim of kindred with the great 


people who spoke it in its earliest form, or the great poets 
and sages who cultivated it, I affirm that it proves for the 
moderns a far nobler genealogy, and vindicates for each 
successive generation the praise of faithfulness, constancy, 
and courage. 

I come now to the second proposition, viz. : That the 
modern Greeks are characterized by uniformity of type, 
and that type resembling the ancient. The first part of 
this proposition is sometimes implicitly denied by the ad- 
vocates for the second, when they affirm that the islanders 
especially resemble the ancient Greeks in features. But 
I waive this point, and am content to assume that there 
is perfect unanimity among the advocates for both. 

It must be premised that all such general assertions 
are very easily made or contradicted, but not very easily 
proved or refuted. In such cases the eye sees not only 
what it brings with it the power of seeing, but also 
that which it brings with it the desire to see. 

And, first, to confine ourselves to the supposed physical 
resemblance. What were the national characteristics of 
the ancient Greeks in face and form ? What means have 
we of forming a judgment ? Here literature stands us 
in no stead, and we can only fall back upon the remains 
of ancient art, statues and friezes and metopes, and 
cameos and coins, where we have on the one hand ideal 
representations of gods and heroes, and on the other por- 
traits of individual men. The ideal faces from the time 
of Phidias downwards all conform to one well-known 
type, of which the low forehead, the straight nose in a 
line with the forehead, and the short upper lip are the 
chief characteristics. The archaic type as seen in the 


iEginetan marbles and in the Athene of the coins is 
somewhat different. The difference lies chiefly in the ex- 
pression, and is unimportant to our present inquiry, 
because it is due either to want of manual skill or inten- 
tional imitation of antique rudeness. With regard to the 
portraits, which belong for the most part to the latest 
period of art, we must take into consideration several 
facts before we can argue upon them at all. 

In the first place, many of those which bear the names 
of illustrious Greeks are either ideal or portraits of 
Romans which have been inscribed with Greek names in 
Greek letters in order to increase their value in the market 
by Italian owners or vendors in the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries, at the revival of learning, art, connoisseurship, 
and forgery. Secondly, we must bear in mind the ten- 
dency of the portrait-maker to flatter his subject by 
assimilating his features as much as possible to the 
divine and heroic type. Making these allowances, the 
genuine Greek faces will be found very various in cha- 
racter, and not resembling the ideal type at all more closely 
than a collection of portraits of Italians, Spaniards, or 
any southern people at the present day. But any con- 
clusion must be dubious when drawn from such dubious 
and scanty data. 

Among the modern Greeks, so far as my observation 
went — and I was constantly observing them with this 
particular view — one sees very few faces which recal the 
type of ideal beauty. Some exceptional instances may 
be found in all countries ; but they are always rare, and 
not less rare in Greece than elsewhere. The most 
striking examples which I noted were an Albanian shep- 


herd near Athens and a rustic at Zante. For the 
exquisite proportions and muscular development of ancient 
statues we can find no parallel in men as they now are, for 
the modern Greek wraps himself up in elaborate folds, 
and never takes the trouble to undress. We are more 
likely to find living antitypes of the Apollo and Antinous 
in England, where the young men are animated with the 
passion of the old Greeks for gymnastic exercises far more 
than their soi-disant descendants and namesakes. 

So much for the physical question. With regard to 
the moral qualities, we are assured that the modern 
Greeks resemble the ancient in their virtues and in their 
failings, whether as civilians or soldiers — as soldiers in 
their fitful courage and sudden panics ; as civilians in their 
enterprising spirit, their versatility, their patience, fru- 
gality and sobriety, in their selfishness, unscrupulousness 
and cunning. 

To take these seriatim. It is quite true that, so long 
as the wars of the ancient Greeks were waged by their 
own free citizens in person, ' fitful courage and sudden 
panic' did characterize their armies, except only the Spar- 
tan, as they characterize all half-trained and half-disciplined 
bodies of men, to whatever race they belong. The raw 
levies of America ran away at Bladensburg, and the raw 
levies of England refused to advance at the Redan. But 
the Spartans, who were veteran soldiers all, showed no 
such weakness. The Greek mercenaries of later times 
serving under Cyrus or Alexander were remarkable for 
steadiness in the field. 

Again, the modern Greeks show no aptitude for com- 
bined enterprises ' of great pith and moment/ such as 


distinguished the better days of the old Hellas j but only 
for petty traffic and individual gain, in which the mixed 
population of the Levantine shores have been ever active. 
This is enterprise of a much lower stamp than that which 
of old colonized the coasts of the Mediterranean with free 
and nourishing cities. In this sense the Jews and the 
hybrid Ionians and Maltese are quite as enterprising, as 
versatile, and as patient as the Greeks. 

Frugality and sobriety are virtues not peculiar to race, 
but to climate. All the southern nations — Spaniards and 
Italians and Hindoos — are sober and frugal. 

The vices which are attributed to the Greeks are vices 
developed by oppression, and could not with justice be 
charged upon the ancient Greeks as a people so long as 
they were free. They are the arts whereby weakness 
baffles and eludes violence. In the animal world nature 
furnishes analogous qualities to the creature preyed upon 
as a defence against the talon and the claw. 

To sum up all : I hold, first, that such homogeneity as 
there is in the modern Greek nation is due not to purity 
of race, but to the combined action of other causes — fre- 
quent intercourse, similar habits, and identity of climate and 
language. We see, in the case of the United States, how 
rapidly such causes operate in fusing into one people with 
marked characteristics, physical and moral, a multitude of 
very various origin and descent. Secondly, whatever resem- 
blance may be traced between the ancient and modern 
Greeks is owing to the similarity of external circumstance ; 
and however many minor qualities they may exhibit in 
common, the moderns show no spark of the mighty 
genius of the ancients. That genius has left its stamp 


upon every art and science, upon every branch of letters 
and province, of thought. Modern Greece has produced 
no great artist, nor statesman, nor general, nor poet, nor 
philosopher. 1 

1 I should be sorry to depreciate the merits of Koraes, Soutzos, 
Trikoupi, and others who have deserved well of their country and of 
literature ; but there is no modern Greek ' great' in the sense in 
which many ancient Greeks, many Germans, French, English, and 
Italians are great. 



TTTE left Khaliani at a quarter-past six a.m. The path 
lay along a wide, bare valley, traversed at intervals 
by the torrents which descend from the eastern flank of 
Cyllene. The mountain was visible nearly all the way on 
the left, not cone-shaped, as it appeared from Khaliani, 
but terminating in a jagged ridge. We passed another 
amphibious lake, like that of Stymphalus, but much 
smaller. By-aud-bye we fell in with a group of peasants 
of both sexes and all ages, headed by a priest marching 
in slow procession, and stopping at each man's field to 
chant a Kyrie Eleison and invoke a blessing upon their 
crops. The whole way is a gradual ascent ; and about ten 
o'clock we reached the summit of a ridge of hills running 
east and west and commanding a splendid prospect of both 
the gulfs and the isthmus between. The thin and arid soil 
produces nothing but a few scattered stunted oaks and a 
scanty undergrowth of familiar shrubs. The descent on 
the northern side is more rapid, down a path cut deep 
between chalky banks and glowing like a furnace in the 
mid-day sun. Here and there I observed traces of an old 
road. The monotony of the journey was relieved by an 
occasional assault upon a snake surprised as he lay basking 
in the heat. One of them was about a yard long with a 



disproportionately large head, spotted black and grey, and, 
according to the testimony of his destroyer, ttoXv kuko, 
that is, ' very venomous/ 

At half-past twelve we came to a ruined bridge, pro- 
bably ancient, at the bottom of a ravine, and then as- 
cended the right bank by a steep path. Along the crest 
of the hill might be traced fragments of a Hellenic wall 
— the western wall of Sicyon. 

A finer site for a city could not well be imagined. The 
mountains hereabouts fall down towards the sea not in a 
continuous slope, but in a succession of abrupt descents 
and level terraces — a series of landslips, as it were, so that 
green smooth pastures alternate with white steep scaurs. 
These are severed at intervals by deep rents and gorges, 
down which the mountain torrents make their way to the 
sea, spreading the spoils of the hills over the flat plain two 
miles in breadth, which lies between the lowest cliffs and 
the shore. Between two such gorges, on a smooth expanse 
of tableland overlooking the plain, stood the ancient 
Sicyon. On every side are abrupt cliffs, and even at the 
southern extremity there is a lucky transverse rent sepa- 
rating this from the next plateau. The ancient walls may 
be seen at intervals along the edge of the cliffs on all sides. 
The entire circuit of the city cannot have been much less 
than four miles. In shape it approximated to a triangle, 
with the apex towards the hills and the base fronting the 
sea. Within the walls there is a higher and lower level. 
A line of rocks parallel to the base separates the triangle 
into two unequal parts, of which the southern is higher 
and smaller than the northern. In the most flourishing 
days of Sicyon the whole space thus included in the forti- 
fications was called Acropolis, there being a lower town 

sic yon. 339 

on the plain at the foot of the cliffs, and a seaport as 
well. In 303 b.c. Demetrius Poliorcetes, with the con- 
sent of the Sicyonians themselves, destroyed the seaport, 
which was incapable of being defended by the diminished 
population, and transported them to the Acropolis, which 
was amply sufficient for them all. The upper platform 
was then called Acropolis, as probably it had been in 
earlier times, when the dimensions of the city were coex- 
tensive with those of the city of Demetrius. In the his- 
torical times Sicyon was never more than a second-rate 
city ; but its importance in a military point of view made 
its possession coveted by more powerful contending neigh- 
bours, so that it suffered all the evils without the glories 
of war. Its importance as a fortress arose from its natu- 
ral strength and abundant supply of water, and from 
its proximity to Corinth and the rich plain which lay 
between. 1 

It is twice mentioned in the Iliad as a city under the 
dominion of Agamemnon : ' Sicyon, where Adrastus was 
the first king/- and f Sicyon with wide dancing-places.' 3 
This last is, like ' well-built/ a familiar epithet paid by 
way of compliment to those cities which have no peculiar 
and characteristic adjective of their own ; were it less 
common, we might well suppose that the level site of 

1 The description of Diodorus (xx. 102, 3) applies to the site even 
now, excepting that the ' abundance of water' is diminished by the 
choking up of the underground aqueducts, and that corn-fields have 
taken the place of ' gardens.' — 6 yap rijs aKponoXeas TrepifioXos 
inineSos cov koX piyas Kprjpvols dva-irpoaiTois irepiiX eTal TiavrayoQiv, 
Zio-re pi]8ap?i bivaadai. pr) X avas npoaayeiv, ex el S * Kai ^dos vSarcoi/ 
e£ ov KfjTreias Sa\|nXe7s KarfaKevaaav. 

2 II. ii. 572. s lb. xxiii. 299. 


Sicyon would make it here especially appropriate. At 
any rate the insouciant Hippocleicles did not avail himself 
of his opportunities when he chose the dinner-table for 
the memorable performances related with such unction by 
the Father of History. 1 

The reign of Cleisthenes was probably the culminating 
point of Sicyonian power. He was strong enough to 
wage war with the Argives, and was anxious to assert in 
every way the independence of his city. The means 
which he adopted for this end are wonderfully characte- 
ristic of the early days of Greece. He forbade the 
rhapsodists from chanting Homer's poems, ' because 
they glorified Argos and the Argives/ and also, as we 
may suppose, because Sicyon was represented as subordi- 
nate to Agamemnon ; and he wanted to turn Adrastus out 
of his heroum in the market-place because he was an 
Argive. From this we see, first, how undoubtingly the 
Greeks of that day accepted the epic tales for literal 
positive fact ; and, secondly, how completely not only the 
Dorians themselves, but their enemies also, identified 
them with the Achseans whom they had conquered and 
supplanted. And if, as is supposed, Cleisthenes was 
himself an Achsean supported by the favour of his 
brother Achseans against the Dorian aristocracy, in insult- 
ing the so-called Argive hero Adrastus he was in reality 
insulting one of his own race. It was as if Owen Glen- 
dower should have forbidden his minstrels to sing of 
Arthur on the ground that he was an Englishman. Not 
being able to expel Adrastus from the market-place, he 
introduced his bitter enemy Melanippus into the strongest 

1 Herod, vi. 129. 

SICYON. 311 

part of the Prytancion, so that the latter hero might he 
able to oust the former from his defenceless post in the 
market-place below. 1 

The market-place of which Herodotus speaks was doubt- 
less on the lower level of the upper city, where in his own 
time was to be seen the stoa of Cleisthenes, built from 
the spoils of Cirrha. 2 The Prytaneion was, I conceive, 
the upper level, which constituted a fortress in itself, and 
was set apart for the residence of the sovereign, as the 
dukes of Ferrara had a fortress in the midst of their city. 
Probably ' Prytanis' was the official title borne not only 
by the Sicyonian but also by other despots of the time. 

Colonel Leake says: ' It appears from several authorities 
that when Sicyon was in the height of its power the 
walls extended to the sea. It must then have been at 
least eight miles in circumference/ 3 If ever the city 
had this extent, it was probably in the reign of Clei- 
sthenes. But I do not know what are the several autho- 
rities here referred to. Neither Herodotus nor Thucy- 
dides gives any hint of the long walls of Sicyon, and 
it is certain from incidents related by Xenophon in 
his Hellenica that the seaport of Sicyon was not so con- 
nected with the upper city in the time of Epaminondas. 
Sixty years later we have the distinct statement of Dio- 
dorus that there was a vacant interval between the two. 4 
Under the high-handed Cleisthenes, the ally of Athens, 

1 Herod, v. 67. 

* It was still extant in Pausanias's time, ii. 9, 6. 

s Travels in the Morea, iii. 365. 

4 Diod. xx. 102, 2. — tiff ol piv (ppovpol (Tvveainecrov ds Ttfv 

a.K.p6ivo\iv, 6 de A^/xjjrptos rrjs Trokecos Kvptevaas tqv perat-v tottov tu>v 

oiKiSiv ical ttjs aKpas nare'i^. 



the Acropolis may have been connected with the seaport, 
as in aftertimes that of Athens itself was joined to the 
Pirseus j but neither Corinth nor the other states of Pelo- 
ponnese would have suffered a second-rate town, to which 
rank Sicjon soon after sank, thus to block up the road 
along the coast. 

After the outer walls, almost the only remains of 
ancient Sicyon are to be found along the line of low 
cliffs separating the higher from the lower platform. 
Entering from the west, we come first to the stadium, 
the upper end of which occupies a fold or recess in 
the line of rocks, partly natural partly excavated ; and 
in order to give it the requisite length, it is prolonged at 
the lower end by an artificial platform, supported on three 
sides by walls of masonry which, though polygonal, makes 
an approach to regular courses. Of these courses I 
counted twelve, and the walls are in all about eighteen 
feet high. All incline somewhat inwards, so as better to 
resist the lateral pressure of the earth. Close by there is 
a little cave in the rock, and about it hewn seats or steps, 
as at Stymphalus. Very near the stadium, towards the 
east, is the theatre, of which the circular part, as well as 
the basement of the stage wall, is excavated out of the 
rock. From the rock, on either side, project masses of 
masonry, intended to prolong the seats of the spectators 
to the stage wall, which crossed them at right angles. 
These are traversed by spacious arched passages opposite 
to each other. Now, these walls are composed entirely 
of large stones without cement, and belong unquestion- 
ably to the best Hellenic period — the best, that is, in a 
masonic point of view. There is every probability that 
they were erected by Demetrius, the benefactor of Sicyon, 

SICYON. 313 

if, indeed, they be not of a still remoter date ; so that we 
find that the Greeks were acquainted with the mystery of 
throwing an arch at least as early as the end of the fourth 
century B.C. If it had then been a recent discovery it 
would have created a sensation, and we should have heard 
of it, for that is precisely the period as to which we have 
the fullest knowledge of all that interested the Greek 
people. It is not mentioned because it had been known 
from time immemorial, and therefore did not awake any 
one's curiosity or wonder. 

On the upper level above the theatre are two or three 

altars hewn out of the living rock, with a hollow on the 

top to receive the fire, and a basement of successive steps. 

On the lower ground, near where we may suppose the 

market-place to have been, is a Roman building almost 

perfect, with the exception of the roof, divided into several 

small chambers. Probably it was intended for baths, as 

the chambers are too small to admit the supposition of its 

having been a public building. If the rubbish which 

cumbers the floor were cleared away, the point would be 

set at rest. Near the little hamlet of Vasilika, in the 

northern cliff, is a gully up which a steep and narrow 

path gives access from the plain below. Here, doubtless, 

was one of the gates of the city; not, however, the sacred 

gate, as that probably led to the sanctuary of Titane, the 

especial object of Sicyonian veneration, 1 and was therefore 

on the landward side. Following the edge of this cliff, 

towards the east, we come to a church, in and about 

which are several fragments of antiquity, part of the shaft 

of a large Doric column, some triglyphs, and a cornice of 

1 Pausanias, ii. n, 5. 


white marble. Hard by is a kind of tunnel wide enough 
for O" , man to pass, of which the lower end is half way 
down the cliff. It is still unobstructed, and seems to 
have been a kind of postern. That it is ancient appears 
from some foundations of walls round the upper outlet. 

About five o'clock we reluctantly quitted this most inte- 
resting site. At the foot of the hill are some scattered 
fragments and the wheelmarks of an old road. We 
crossed the Asopus by a modern bridge. It was probably 
on the plain near the banks of the river that the hippo- 
drome was situated, though of course no trace is left of 
it. An ode of Pindar, wrongly classed among the Ne- 
means — the ninth — refers to a victory gained in a chariot 
race at the games of Sicyon, calk a Pythian, ' which 
Adrastus instituted in honour ot x^cebus beside the 
streams of Asopus/ 1 

The plain between Sicyon and Corinth, in old days 
proverbial for its fertility, is now sparsely planted with 
vine and olive, and sown in patches with corn. It appears 
to have owed its renown rather to careful tillage than 
natural richness. It doubtless well repaid the trouble of 
the culture when it had a populous city at either extre- 
mity, affording a ready market for its produce. 

About sunset we reached Corinth. 

1 Pindar, Nem. ix. 9. 













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